New veterans fund will invest in cutting-edge research for treatments
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Innovative surgery which allows artificial limbs to be permanently fixed to bones could be available for veterans through research grants handed out by a new fund.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak is expected to announce £5 million towards a new UK-wide Veterans’ Health Innovation Fund at his Budget and spending review on Wednesday.
The fund would be able to award research grants to develop new surgery techniques and treatment options for amputees and blast victims.
Supporting injured veterans and those with mental health needs is a crucial part of repaying the huge debt we all owe them
The Treasury said that between 2001 and March 2021 there were more than 300 UK service personnel whose injuries included a traumatic or surgical amputation as a result of sustained injuries in Afghanistan.
One in 10 serving military personnel was also seen by medics for a mental health-related reason last year, while the number of veterans entering psychological therapies on the NHS increased by around 45% between 2014 and 2020.
It is hoped the new cash could fund research into new surgery techniques such as direct skeletal fixation, which enables artificial limbs to be permanently fixed to bones, removing the need to use traditional socket-based technology.
And the Treasury said the fund will also aim to support drug-assisted therapy trials currently under way in the US and Israel which have shown promising results in treating patients suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder, and could help with restoring patients’ function after brain injuries.
Mr Sunak said: ”We hugely value the sacrifices made by so many brave men and women in our Armed Forces.
“Supporting injured veterans and those with mental health needs is a crucial part of repaying the huge debt we all owe them.
“This new fund will help ensure veterans get the support they deserve with the very best ground-breaking research and treatments.”
The fund will be distributed by the Office for Veterans’ Affairs (OVA).