A SOLDIER who lost his leg in a Taliban bomb attack today welcomed a new multimillion-pound funding pledge to help wounded war heroes.
Chris Parkes, who was blown up by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province, said he hoped the £15million in Government funding would be a “massive help” to military personnel who have lost limbs while serving their country.
The move, which will see specialist prosthetic and rehabilitation centres open across the country, is in response to a review commissioned after armed forces’ charities raised concerns that the civilian health service could not support amputee veterans to the same standard provided at the military’s Headley Court rehabilitation centre in Surrey.
“The money is certainly welcome,” said Chris. “Any support is much appreciated. There is a desperate need for more funding and, hopefully, it will be a massive help.”
The 24-year-old, from Murton, suffered terrible injuries and could easily have died in the attack, which happened almost two years ago.
After crawling for cover, the former Easington Community College pupil was rushed back to base at Camp Bastion for emergency treatment.
Chris, of Battalion Three, The Rifles, was later fitted with a prosthetic leg and underwent rehabilitation at Headley Court.
“It does sound like a huge amount of money, but care can be costly and it is important that the Government continues its commitment to improve care,” he said.
“It also needs to be carefully distributed and given to those who need it – and quickly.
“People shouldn’t have to wait around for years and years.”
Working with service charities, the Government will fund the improvements to care for amputee veterans in England and work with the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland on arrangements in the rest of the UK.
Bryn Parry, of Help for Heroes, said: “We look forward to working with the NHS, MoD and other departments and charities to ensure that the amputees, and indeed all military casualties, get the very best support for life.”
Jerome Church, of the British Limbless Ex-Service Men’s Association, said: “We’re now much more confident the NHS will be able to provide the prosthetic support veterans need and deserve.”