Hundreds of British veterans who lost limbs in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are being subjected to “Sub optimal prosthetic care” as the state-funded National Health Service is incapable of serving them properly.
The British Limbless Ex Servicemen’s Association has called on the government in a new report to have an urgent re-think of the way it provides care for veterans, reports Sky News. The men say the prosthetics available to American veterans are significantly more advanced, and the slap-dash, experimental treatment Brits receive from the NHS is tantamount to abuse.
One of the major problems identified by the paper is that British clinicians are insufficiently well trained to deal with complex prosthetics called for by amputee servicemen, and former soldiers and marines are consequently repeatedly operated upon by doctors hoping for a good outcome. While care is good at Headley Court, the Army’s own rehabilitation centre, once soldiers are out of the forces they are forced to rely on the sub-par NHS.
The report said such uncertainty was mentally as well as physically damaging, and that former soldiers are”in a state of perpetual interventions as clinicians experiment unsuccessfully, again and again, in order to try and deliver the patient’s needs… Sub optimal prosthetic care is tantamount to physical abuse, literally physically wounding patients.”
The group says sending former soldiers to the United States for treatment instead of the United Kingdom would not only see them rehabilitated better and more quickly, but would also represent a saving for the taxpayer. Treatment in American specialist centres can be up to £30,000 cheaper per limb.
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