HC Deb 15 September 2004 vol 424 cc1638-9W
Mrs. Iris Robinson

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on(a) funding for and (b) development of services for those with prosthetic limbs. [187784]

Angela Smith

Funding for the prosthetic service is provided from the Physical and Sensory Disability Programme of Care. In 2003–04 expenditure on the prosthetics service totalled just over £1 million.

Representatives of the Prosthetic Users Forum met officials in the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety in the Autumn of 2003 to discuss the prosthetics service and in March 2004, Green Park Healthcare Trust submitted to the Department a copy of the report 'Needs Assessment for Northern Ireland Regional Prosthetic Service'. This included a service development plan for 2004–05 costing £360,000.

The Department has included as an action in its Priorities for Action 2004–05: `Boards and Trust should collaborate with Green Park Trust to develop the range of prosthetics available. In particular, this should include wider provision of an improved range of prosthetics for some 125 users by 31 March 2005. Boards should submit final figures for 2004–05 in their September progress reports'.

An additional £250,000 was allocated by the Department for this purpose.

A further meeting between representatives of the Prosthetics Users Forum and Departmental officials is being arranged and this will assist in developing future plans to further develop the prosthetics service.

Mrs. Iris Robinson

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on services in the Province for those with prosthetic limbs. [187785]

Angela Smith

A regional prosthetics service is provided by Green Park Healthcare Trust, on the Musgrave Park Hospital site, which serves just under 1,800 prosthetic users across a spectrum of ages and disabilities. The service benchmarks its performance against other prosthetic centres throughout the UK.

It is endeavouring to rise to the challenges of increased user expectation and new technology. Consideration is being given to further development. The service won the Prosthetics and Orthotics Services Innovation Award 2004, run by the Limbless Association in the UK.