This summer, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) launched a pilot of the new Integrated High Dependency Care System (IHDCS), designed to ensure a small group of personnel and veterans who need additional support as a result of severe injuries sustained during operations benefit from enhanced on-going assistance.
The MOD has worked closely with the Department of Health and the NHS to develop this system, which will work with the patient to improve the integration of all services no matter who is providing them, giving personnel the best joined up health and social care possible as they transition into civilian life and for the rest of their lives.
The system will thoroughly assess the patient for his or her specific care needs and co-ordinate best delivery of services through the NHS, MOD, charitable sector and elsewhere. This improved management of funds, services and equipment aims to greatly improve the individual’s quality of life and provide assurance that their life-long care needs will be met.
In addition there will be more access to on-going support from The Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre (DMRC) at Headley Court. The DMRC has long provided world-class rehabilitation and prosthetic support for serving personnel and now a number of veterans with complex, amputation-related complications are also receiving prosthetic support at the site, through the recently established Veterans Complex Prosthetic Assessment Clinic (CPAC). This support includes potentially life-changing Direct Skeletal Fixation surgery. We have featured the Veterans Rehabilitation Unit in the latest edition of Veterans WORLD e-zine.
The Direct Skeletal Fixation pilot (also known as Osseo-Integration) is due to run for another 2 or more years and has already enabled some veterans to have the surgery. The procedure involves inserting titanium prosthetics directly into a bone, offering greater freedom from the limitations and complications commonly associated with socket based prosthetic systems. It has the potential to give long-term health benefits and reduced dependency.
Early feedback from CPAC has been positive, and the Government is continuing to work closely alongside relevant charities to ensure that veterans are fully aware of the initiatives and benefits it can offer them.
The new system was announced by Defence Minister Mark Lancaster, who said:
Our Armed Forces make great sacrifices to protect the nation. Where they sustain serious injuries, they deserve seamless, well-delivered support. This will help ensure that’s exactly what they receive.
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