NHS offer amputees advanced prosthetic technology

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Ottobock UK has welcomed the Government’s decision to approve the funding for the long awaited, Clinical Commissioning Policy: Microprocessor Controlled Prosthetic Knees. The policy allows eligible amputees living in England with above-knee limb loss and those with hip disarticulation access, via the NHS, to a life changing Microprocessor Controlled Prosthetic Knee (MPK).

The policy regulates the NHS provision of a specific category of prosthetic knee components – the MPK. It means eligible amputees will now have access to one of the safest and most popular MPK on the market, Ottobock’s C-Leg. By making MPKs more widely available on the NHS it is envisaged that quality of limb loss rehabilitation will be improved at a national level.

The policy was submitted to NHS England back in 2013 to guarantee centralised funding for the treatment of above-knee limb loss. Since the submission, various organisations have campaigned for the approval of the policy and together with the Clinical Reference Group on Disability Equipment – creators of the policy – have managed to secure the centralised funding for this much needed and life changing policy. 

The implementation of this policy means that prosthetic MPKs will now be funded through Specialised Commissioning by NHS England and will soon be available through Rehabilitation Service Centres. 

“This policy has been in the making for a long time. We campaigned tirelessly for over two years to ensure the approval from NHS England of this vital, necessary and important component to improving rehabilitation and quality of life for those with above-knee limb loss,” states Phil Yates, Managing Director at Ottobock. “We believe this is a positive step forward, which recognises that the advances in prosthetic technology can make a real difference to the lifestyle and health of amputees. MPKs allow amputees access to activities that may not have been previously achievable and in some cases enabling them to go back to work.”

MPKs are designed to help amputees walk with a much more stable and efficient gait whilst reducing the chance of stumbles and falls. For instance, Ottobock’s C-Leg 4 has a complex sensor system that captures data in real time and recognises which phase of walking the user is in. It adapts to the users natural gait pattern, even at various speeds, whether on level ground, going down stairs step-over-step or on slopes. The user will be able to navigate difficult surfaces such as forest floor, sand and gravel. It also has a stumble recovery function that makes it extremely reliable.

“Being able to stop and stand still without thinking, change your speed of walking, or take a step backwards should not be a luxury,” explains Rachel Neilson, Ottobock UK Academy, “and an MPK such as the C-Leg 4 provides all of those safely and predictably so that the amputee can just get on with what they want to do.”

Kiera Roche, founder of LimbPower, comments, “This is a huge win for those living with above-knee limb loss. The application of this policy will be life changing; I have met so many who have been trapped by the limited capabilities of their current prosthesis. Giving them the possibility to be able to go out without the fear of falling and hurting themselves is priceless. This is why I have backed this policy from the start and I am just over the moon to see it come into force.” 

Someone who knows the benefits of an MPK is Gillian McBain. She was a competitive swimmer for the first 10 years after having her leg amputated, back then she was only concerned about getting from her car to where she wanted to go and back again. Gillian explains, “As long as my prosthesis got me from the house to the car and the car to the pool or gym that was all I asked of it”. She was then offered the chance to wear a C-Leg. This was the start of her life returning to something along the lines of what she used to know and allowed her to do the things she loved doing before her amputation. 

To see how the C-Leg 4 has enriched Gillian McBain’s life watch this video where she tells her story here.

For more information regarding the policy and eligibility please see: http://www.ottobock.co.uk/mpk-nhs-funding/ or follow @ottobockuk.