NHS England is responsible for planning and buying specialised services for people who need complex disability equipment. This includes all major upper and lower limb amputees and people with congenital limb deficiencies who have a potential to use prosthesis to help them mobilise or improve upper limb function.
Given the ever increasing financial pressures facing our health services, NHS England is working to ensure we achieve maximum return from every pound spent, while providing the best quality care for patients. As part of this, we are reviewing a broad range of specialised services including prosthetics.
The number of patients with an amputation or congenital limb deficiency attending specialist rehabilitation service centres in the UK is estimated at 55,000 – 60,000. NHS England spends approximately £60 million per year on these services.
There are 35 centres in England that provide specialised prosthetic services. These are consultant-led services and they involve a specialised multi-disciplinary team, which includes, for example; prosthetist; occupational therapist; physiotherapist; podiatrist; and psychologist.
We are currently in the early stages of this process, looking at financial information, patient experience and data from centres to understand whether the services currently provided meet the needs of patients across the whole of England, while remaining cost effective.
Innovations in prosthetics are fast moving, with ongoing improvements as technology advances, so we need to commission services for the future as well as ensuring that patients across the country have equitable access to high quality care.
We will be working with patient groups and other key stakeholders over the next few months so that we better understand how patients currently experience services, and where they feel care could be improved. If you are holding a patient group or event between now and October – please do get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know.
To receive regular updates about the prosthetics review directly, please sign up as a registered stakeholder for the Rehabilitation & Disability CRG (Clinical Reference Group).