CONSERVATIVE
New Forest East

HEALTH – ARTIFICIAL LIMBS – 24 June 1999

Dr Julian Lewis: Will the Leader of the House consider finding time for the Secretary of State for Health to make a statement to the House about the lack of variety in artificial limbs supplied by the NHS, particularly for children? I have in mind the case of my eight-year-old constituent, Laura Giddings, who, the right hon. Lady may be aware, lost her leg in the blast in the Planet Hollywood explosion in South Africa. Limbs have to be replaced frequently as a child grows but, because nothing available on the NHS looks realistic, the child's psychological trauma is greatly increased. In such a statement, the Secretary of State could explain why, if money is the problem, parents who decide to pay privately for a better-quality limb should not be given at least an amount equivalent to the cost of an NHS limb, which they would have had free. That arrangement applies to wheelchairs, so why cannot it apply to artificial limbs for children?