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Artificial Limbs

Volume 465: debated on Tuesday 24 May 1949

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asked the Minister of Pensions the numbers of suction socket artificial legs now under trial by selected legless patients; for how long the trials have been proceeding; and when the suction socket limb is likely to be put on the approved list for general issue to all war pensioners to whom they would prove advantageous.

About 50 patients have been wearing artificial legs fitted with suction sockets for varying periods ranging up to about two years. As a result of observations made during these trials a number of modifications have been made, especially in connection with the valve. A supply of the improved valves has just been received and I now intend to ask a number of limbmakers throughout the country to fit suction sockets to their particular make of legs for trial by not less than another 100 patients.

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman, in view of the fact that these trials have been going on for some time now, and that certain hopes have been held out to the limbless that this may be a much improved limb, if he can give any definite information at a near date whether these limbs are likely to be approved or not, anyhow in principle?

The trials have been satisfactory so far, but it has been possible during this period of trial to make sundry improvements, and we naturally wish to issue the limb generally only when we are satisfied that every possible improvement has been made. I would not like to commit myself to a definite date at this moment.


asked the Minister of Pensions how many mechanical hands, and types of hands, are undergoing trials by selected armless patients; for how long the trials have been proceeding; and when the mechanical hands are likely to be made available to all armless war pensioners.

Six mechanical hands of one type have undergone trials by selected amputees since April of last year, and reports are now available for consideration by the Standing Advisory Committee on artificial limbs at their next meeting which will probably be held late next month. Another type of mechanical hand has now been produced and is at present being tested. If the Standing Advisory Committee are satisfied with the performance of either or both of these types of mechanical hand, they will be made available to all disabled war pensioners and National Health Service patients for whom they are suitable.