Bionic arm

NHS giving amputees independence with life-changing innovation

Potentially life-changing, state-of-the-art bionic arms are set to be made available to every patient across England who needs them, the NHS has announced.

The roll out of the cutting-edge technology follows two independent reviews into its use in the veteran community, where it saw great success.

The technology works using brain signals, which enables amputees to move their arms fluidly and intuitively and recover a significant part of their quality of life and regain some of their sovereignty.

NHS chief executive Amanda Pritchard said: “These incredible multi-grip prosthetics have already made a huge difference to veterans and so it is fantastic to be able to offer them to all patients in England who need them.

“The arms, for both children and adults, use the very latest tech which will boost peoples’ independence and change the lives of dozens across the country. The NHS is at the forefront of medical innovation and this rollout is the latest example of how we are adopting the best medical advances for patients.”

In order to be eligible for the innovation, patients must have enough residual muscle in their upper arms to be able to send brain signals that then allow their limbs to move.

Previously, the bionic arms offered through the NHS were only available to military veterans who were injured during service – they were also only basic models that either didn’t have anywhere near the same functionality as the newer versions or simply didn’t have any functionality whatsoever, and were purely cosmetic.

Before approved use, each patient will be carefully assessed so health professionals can determine which specific type of prosthetic is best suited for them, with children an young as nine being eligible.

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