A new system to give seriously injured veterans better lifelong assistance has been announced by Defence Minister Mark Lancaster…

This summer, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) will launch 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 IHDCS is a fully joined-up system of care which, for eligible cases, will thoroughly assess the individual for his or her specific care needs and co-ordinate the best delivery of services through the NHS, the MOD, the charitable sector and elsewhere. This improved management of funds, services and equipment aims to greatly improve the individual’s quality of life.

The IHDCS follows recent announcements to offer further support to amputees, including additional access to on-going support from the world-class Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre (DMRC) at Headley Court and potentially life-changing Direct Skeletal Fixation (DSF) surgery at the public expense.

Defence Minister Mark Lancaster 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."

As well as reducing the burden on the patient, the co-ordinated approach of the IHDCS, delivered in partnership with the Department of Health and NHS England, will mean individuals’ cases will be viewed holistically, providing them with confidence that their needs will be met for the rest of their lives.

This is another commitment under the Armed Forces Covenant – the promise that service people and their families are treated fairly in civilian life. The Government enshrined the key principles of the Covenant in law in 2011.

In addition, while the DMRC at Headley Court has long provided world-class rehabilitation and prosthetic support for serving personnel, a number of veterans with complex, amputation-related complications are now also receiving prosthetic support at the site, through the recently established Veterans Complex Prosthetic Assessment Clinic (CPAC).

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 the benefits that it can offer them.

The Direct Skeletal Fixation pilot (also known as Osseo-Integration), due to run for two or more years, has already enabled some to have potentially life-changing 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.