Your Questions Answered
These are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding prosthetics.
- I’m an amputee & still serving, I am worried about the NHS centres looking after me on discharge, what systems are in place to ensure I am not disadvantaged?
At Blesma we recognise that anxiety exists and through contact with our Support Officers we hope that your fears will be allayed and that your transition will be supported.
On 15th February 2013, Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter said:
“Ex-servicemen and women who have been injured in the line of duty deserve the very best possible care from the NHS.”
“This is why we are making more funding available to improve veterans’ prosthetic limb services - and £22 million in total between 2010 and 2015 to support veterans’ physical and mental health.”
“We want to ensure that our Armed Forces veterans have access to the very best healthcare services at specialist prosthetic and rehabilitation centres across the country.”
“In time, these NHS centres will achieve the same high standards of care for veterans that are offered by Armed Forces rehabilitation centres such as Headley Court.”
- How do I get 'bionic limbs'?
So called ‘Bionic’ limbs are highly specialised and incredibly expensive. As with all other technologically advanced prosthetics, prescription is based on need and outcome, any consideration for such limbs would be a decision for the consultant led team responsible for your care.
- I became an amputee after leaving service, am I entitled to the same support as a serving member of the armed forces?
The extra funding made available is for those ex-service personnel that have suffered attributable injuries whilst serving, or those that have since left the forces but the injury was caused or made worse due to their service. All service users should be able to expect the highest level of care from their Limb Centre and although you might not be able to have access to extra funding, Blesma will be there for you if you are experiencing problems.
- How do I contact Blesma?
You can contact Blesma by calling the HQ in Chadwell Heath, London on 0208 590 1124 and you will be put in touch with the most appropriate team member to deal with your enquiry. Alternatively you can get in touch via our Contact Us page.
- I have read in the press that money has been allocated for veteran’s prosthetic provision why has that happened?
This is in recognition of the service given by members of the armed forces. This recognition is enshrined in Law and is often referred to as ‘The military covenant’. In particular, those that have lost limbs in the service of the country will have access to this extra funding.
- What does the term ‘attributable injury’ mean?
An injury is classed as attributable to military service if it was caused due to that service. It is not always simply about being ‘on duty’ when it happened. As a general rule, if you are in receipt of a War Disablement Pension or have an AFCS Award you will have specific details of the injury which the SPVA have confirmed is attributable. Your Blesma Support Officer can discuss this with you further if required.
- Why have the NHS decided to give extra funding to some centres over others?
The government have undertaken to ensure the highest standard of on-going care for those leaving the military with a service attributable injury. Those that have been provided the latest prosthetic technology via DMRC at Headley Court will at some point need that maintained and ultimately replaced. By nature of the way in which the majority of these personnel were injured there is a high chance that their residual limbs will be complex and often encompass associated health problems. Therefore, identifying centres that were geographically spread across England made sense. A consultation process was carried out before the selected centres were chosen.
- What is the Veterans Prosthetic Panel (VPP)?
The Veterans’ Prosthetics Panel (VPP) was established in 2012 as an interim arrangement as part of the implementation of Dr Andrew Murrison’s recommendations; NHS England will be continuing this arrangement as it is an excellent way of ensuring that veterans can access high quality prosthetics regardless of which Disablement Service Centre (DSC) they attend.