| 28 November 2013
The lives of war heroes who have lost their legs in service to their country have been dramatically improved through revolutionary prosthetics, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond has said. The Government’s funding is providing new prosthetics including the Genium ‘bionic’ leg made famous by Derek Derenalagi in the 2012 Paralympic Games.
Vigilance learnt that earlier this year the Government committed over £6.5 million to guarantee that injured personnel and veterans with above knee amputations could receive the latest technology prosthetics. Since then, over 50 patients have been fitted with 90 ‘bionic’ legs which have provided essential new movement possibilities including the ability to step over obstacles, negotiate stairs and walk backwards safely.
It was gathered after just over six months of receiving the new prosthetics, patients have told their inspirational stories about how their lives have been improved, including the possibility to now play with their children in the garden and even gaining the confidence to dance in public. Other visible improvements have included a faster response to muscle commands and significantly reduced back pain.
According to an MoD source funding for the new prosthetics 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 personnel get the very best.
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said: “Our priority has always been to give our troops the best possible care and support. That’s why we announced £6.5 million earlier this year to ensure our personnel and veterans injured in Afghanistan and Iraq have been able to upgrade to the most technologically advanced prosthetics available. I am also delighted to see first hand how the new ‘bionic’ leg has inspired confidence amongst our personnel and provided them with new opportunities including better stability, greater mobility and reduced back pain.”
Corporal Matt Webb RM who was injured in Afghanistan said: “Since I have been using the Genium joints, I have found it a lot easier to stand still and negotiate slopes and stairs. The other main benefit for me is being able to walk without expending as much energy as I used to, which helps me to walk for longer.”