The Defence Secretary has announced that a group of amputee veterans are the first non-serving personnel to attend the centre as Headley Court is now open to veterans as well as serving personnel.
Veterans with amputation-related medical issues, as a result of recent operations, can now attend a clinic at the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre (DMRC).
The first six former serving personnel have been seen at the Veterans Complex Prosthetic Assessment Clinic following referrals from their current NHS centre. These referrals have been made on a case-by-case basis with all those seen having experienced complex amputation-related complications.
The Defence Medical Services has worked closely with BLESMA, and other Service charities, in order to ensure the widest possible engagement with Service veterans to inform them of the initiative.
While veterans’ healthcare remains the responsibility of the NHS, they now have access to DMRC staff at Headley Court who have acquired a huge amount of experience over the last decade in managing the rehabilitation of military casualties with complex trauma injuries.
The new set-up mirrors the tertiary referral system within the NHS where one hospital can refer a patient to another hospital when needed.
At a time of relatively low levels of serious injury among Armed Forces personnel, it is vital that Defence rehabilitation personnel maintain and develop prosthetic skills for any future conflicts.
It is therefore mutually beneficial for MOD clinicians to see complex prosthetic cases on a regular, predominantly out-patient basis.
The new programme will also develop existing collaboration with the NHS to ensure that knowledge and best practice are shared to the benefit of all parties.