NHS embraces pioneering surgery for children with cerebral palsy
Pioneering surgery to help children with cerebral palsy
is now being made available on the NHS; potentially saving families thousands of pounds.
Frenchay Hospital in Bristol became the first in the UK to carry out the selective dorsal rhizotomy operation
on two children, which involves cutting some of the nerves in the spinal cord to overcome the tightening of muscles that makes it difficult for youngsters with some forms of cerebral palsy
to walk unaided. Cerebral palsy
is commonly used to describe a number of conditions where brain damage
has affected a child's ability to control movement and posture
and as many as 1million people suffer from it in the UK alone. Until now, families have previously had to raise tens of thousands of pounds to pay for their children to have the surgery in America.
"With the cost of the operation along with travel and accommodation expenses, families were paying up to £50,000 which they had to raise entirely by themselves," said Marguarita Tyne
, a partner at Simpson Millar. "The Consultant neurosurgeon at /Frenchay Hospital, Kristian Aquilina claims that more than 40 families were forced to visit the US at their own expense last year so there is obviously demand for the operation to be carried out here in the UK."
Local NHS trusts can now fund the surgery
on a case-by-case basis, with the Bristol team expecting to carry out 2 operations each month.
"It’s great news that the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has finally recognised the value of this procedure which has the potential to improve the lives of many children and their families," added Marguarita.