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Health Services: Armed Forces

Volume 508: debated on Tuesday 6 April 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 11 January 2010, Official Report, columns 15-16WS, on medical care (veterans), what estimate has been made of the cost to the public purse of extending to all veterans the undertaking of an entitlement to receive from the NHS an equivalent standard of prosthetic limb to those provided by Defence Medical Services; and what standards apply to prosthetic limbs provided by (a) the NHS to members of the public and (b) Defence Medical Services to military personnel. (325065)

The current operating framework for the NHS requires commissioners to take account of military personnel, their families and veterans when commissioning services in their area. It is for primary care trusts in partnership with local stakeholders, including practice based commissioners, local government and the public to determine how best to use their funds to meet national and local priorities for improving health and to commission services accordingly. This process provides the means for addressing local needs within the health community including the provision of prosthetic services for former service personnel.

The provision of a prosthetic limb is not the only factor that influences an amputee's quality of life and acceptance of ability. Psychological, social, co-morbidity, age, and clinical service all contribute to an individual's quality of life and use of the prostheses. The provision of prosthetic care and services is undertaken by a multidisciplinary clinical and assessment team to ensure that the type and standard of a particular prostheses is clinically appropriate for an individual.