| 19 February 2013
Vigilance can report that war heroes who have lost their legs will now have access to the most technologically advanced prosthetics currently available, including the Genium ‘bionic’ leg made famous by Derek Derenalagi in the London Paralympic Games, thanks to new funding announced today by the Defence Secretary Philip Hammond and Chancellor George Osborne.
The Government has made £6.5 million available to guarantee that all Serving and former members of our Armed Forces who have been injured while serving their country in Iraq or Afghanistan will be able to have the latest technology prosthetics, where clinical conditions indicate that this is appropriate.
The next generation of micro processor knee, often described as a ‘bionic leg’, will dramatically improve the quality of life and rehabilitation for our troops and veterans. It provides better stability, greater mobility and exciting new movement possibilities including the ability to step over obstacles, negotiate stairs and walk backwards safely.
This additional funding represents the Government’s commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant, ensuring that anyone injured while serving their country gets special consideration and the best possible medical treatment. It builds on the new £17 million Rehabilitation Complex at Headley Court and £5 million announced last year to modernise and refurbish accommodation – ensuring our injured Service personnel get the very best.
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said: “One of this Government’s top priorities has always been to give our troops the best possible care and support. There is no greater example of this than Headley Court, which provides world class medical care and rehabilitation for personnel that have been injured while serving their country. Last year we spent £22 million improving the facilities at Headley Court and I am delighted to announce that we will now spend £6.5 million to ensure UK Servicemen and veterans injured in Afghanistan or Iraq will have the opportunity to upgrade to the most technologically advanced prosthetics currently available.”
Chancellor George Osborne said: "Our troops are heroes who have and continue to give absolutely everything for their country and it is only right that we do everything possible to help them, especially when they suffer injury. I am delighted therefore that we have been able to make funding available for this cutting edge prosthetic technology, which will go a long way to improving the lives of people who have done so much for the UK.”
Surgeon General Air Marshal Paul Evans said: “The next generation of micro processor knee is a fantastic prosthetic development and now seen to have proven benefits for certain amputees. It will improve the quality of life and rehabilitation for our patients, where it is clinically suitable. Not only does it provide better stability and improved mobility but will also help reduce back pain and aid rehabilitation generally. The team at Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre are now planning for individual patients to be offered the next generation of micro processor knee where clinically appropriate.”