Your Questions Answered
These are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding prosthetics.
- What is a prosthetic limb (Prosthesis)?
Prosthetic limbs are artificial devices that provide a portion of the functions normally provided by natural arms and legs. Often employed when a loss of limb occurs due to an accident or birth defect, the prostheses make it possible for individuals to enjoy more mobility and a better quality of life. A prosthetic limb may be a simple device that is functionally efficient, or an enhanced limb that is configured to have an appearance and range of motion that is very similar to that of a natural limb.
- What is the criteria for Direct Skeletal Fixation?
For more information on Direct Skeletal Fixation click here
- How do I access the NHS limb services?
For those still serving in the armed forces, access to NHS Limb services is through the Defence Medical Services, normally through a managed transition pathway as you prepare to discharge. Your Medical Officer will be able to give you more information and advice.
For those that have left the armed forces (including Reserve Forces not deployed or ‘called up’) access will be through your own GP. For advice on how to register with your GP please follow this link to NHS Choices
- What types of prosthetic am I entitled to?
Prosthetic prescription is based on clinical need and a number of factors will dictate the type of prosthetic that is best for you. NHS England have published an interim service specification which you can access via the NHS England website here.
- Where are the NHS limb centres?
A full list of NHS centres can be found by following this link to the Limbless Association website where you can find an interactive map. In response to the review of provision by Dr Andrew Murrison MP ‘A better deal for military amputees’ nine (9) centres have been selected to become enhanced centres providing Multi-Disciplinary teams that should become a focus and potential starting point for the transition into NHS services and care of complex cases and be able to cope with the maintenance of high end prosthetic limbs. It is hoped that our members would be able to maintain choice of centre and that their local provider will be able to meet their particular needs.
- What do I do if I am not a Blesma member but need support in accessing NHS services?
Blesma is a membership organisation and as such can only provide practical support/services to our Members. We will always offer guidance when asked and if you are eligible for membership (link to members page) we would encourage you to join to receive the full range of membership benefits.
- Will Blesma pay for better prosthetics if I’m not happy with the NHS provision?
It is, and always has been Blesma's view that the NHS should provide prosthetics to our Members and that it should not be the responsibility of charities. Blesma may however consider applications for specialised prosthetic provision in certain circumstances. Our Blesma Support Officers will be happy to help you deal with any concerns you have about the provision by the NHS.
- I’ve heard about running Blades, how do I get those?
Running Blades are specific prosthetic components that are designed to allow the wearer to run, sometimes competitively (as seen recently at London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games). These are not normally provided by NHS. However, if you and your consultant feel that provision of such a component is beneficial (and your injury is attributable to your military service) an application can be made to the Veterans Prosthetic Panel (VPP) for consideration under the normal guidelines.