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EMPOWER www.empowermagazine.org.uk


It’s about ability, not disabilities


DAYS OUT & ATTRACTIONS VisitEngland Recommends


South Pole Allied Challenge 2013


LimbPower, Inclusive Fitness Initiative

Image Credit - Omkaar Kotedia

INDEPENDENT LIVING The Emotional Impact of Design

© Ottobock

Ottobock Private Clinic

Otto Bock Healthcare PLC Unit G1 – G2, Stockton Close, Minworth Trade Estate, Birmingham B76 1DH T +44 (0) 121 359 6323 • F +44 (0) 121 359 6324 • clinic@ottobock.com • www.ottobock.co.uk

Ottobock Private Clinic At our purpose-built flag ship facilities at Minworth, Birmingham, you will be treated with outstanding care and cutting edge technology across all our product ranges which include custom made bespoke items and Ottobock stock products to enhance your independence and mobility.

You will have access to the finest clinicians experienced in writing complex cases, who will look after your total care, improving and managing your symmetry, signposting you to the correct treatment for your needs, measuring and documenting outcomes and responding to all questions or concerns you may have.

Ottobock provides services in all areas of rehabilitation including:

We commit ourselves to ensuring you will have a professional and rewarding experience when visiting us. We offer a one to one consultation using the latest technology, enabling us to offer a tailor made solution.

• • • • •

Prosthetics Orthotics Neurostimulation Silicone Special seating

We will provide advice on the most appropriate intervention with no obligation to purchase, following assessment.

Our clinicans also have experience in all areas of legal work incorporating: • Writing joint statements • Provision of second opinions on reports or case evidence • Attending case conferences and court hearings Our clinicians are Bond Solon trained and comply with the Civil Procedure Rules Part 35. For overseas clients we are happy to offer assistance with visa application, referral letters, transportation and accommodation secured at corporate rates.

For more information or arrange a *free assessment call 0845 2666 514 email: clinic@ottobock.com or visit us at www.ottobockuk/privateclinic *Quote Empower2 when booking your assessment


Features: 08. NEWS

- Richard Whitehead Runs Britain - Walking with the Wounded

16. REHABILITATION - Matthew Newbury


- Nurse to patient ratios

35. ACCIDENT PREVENTION - Cold & Winter Weather

39. DAY IN THE LIFE OF... - Abdo Haidar (Prosthetist)


- The emotional impact of design

48. DWP - Mike Penning MP 49. SPORT - LimbPower 53. SPORT - Inclusive Fitness 55. PAIN MANAGEMENT - Phantom Limb Pain by Prof Jonathan Cole

60. DAYS OUT & ATTRACTIONS - Visit England

65. TRAVEL 67. MOTABILITY With thanks to: Limbless Association, Able UK, ProActive Prosthetics, oneathlete, The Alternative Limb Project, Richard Hunt, Pace Rehabilitation, Walking with the Wounded, Amputees in action, AIM, Asons Solicitors, The London Prosthetic Centre, designed2enable, LimbPower, IFI, Prof. Jonathan Cole, Visit England, Virgin Holidays, Motability & all advertisers.

Images Supplied by: Front Cover by The Alternative Limb Project - Image Credit: Omkaar Kotedia & thanks to all other image contributors.

© Publishing Magazines Ltd 2013. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or used in any way without written permission from the publisher. The views expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of the publisher and although every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate, the publishers take no responsibility for errors and omissions. No responsibility can be accepted by the publisher for any claims made by the advertisers in this publication.

Published & Designed by: www.publishingmagazinesltd.com © Publishing Magazines Ltd

Contact Us: sales@publishingmagazinesltd.com studio@publishingmagazinesltd.com Website: www.empowermagazine.org.uk Twitter: @EmPower_Mag

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t has been a busy couple of months in the Fundraising and Events team at the Limbless Association.

In November we announced DJ Matt Howes as Goodwill Ambassador for the Limbless Association. In 2011 Matt was living the dream, DJing to thousands of holidaymakers on the party isle of Crete. Overnight, following a horrific crash, his arm was amputated to save his life. Only two weeks later Matt, without practice and with 70 stitches, was back DJing to a crowd of 1000 people with one arm. Matt commented: “It was the best experience of my life. The place erupted. It was totally surreal. It was pure euphoria”. Matt has gone on to earn the respect that he deserves and is recognised as one of the best DJ’s from the UK. He is currently on tour in Mauritius playing over the festive season and into the New Year at prestigious resorts and clubs. We are honoured to have such an inspirational figure taking on this role for the Limbless Association and we wish Matt every success in his professional career as an International DJ.

Look out for Matt’s fundraising activities for the Limbless Association in 2014. On 5 December the Limbless Association hosted an event to celebrate the 30th Birthday of the Charity, and mark European Limb Loss Day. The awards evening was to recognise and reward outstanding contributions and achievements in the limb-loss and healthcare communities and the Prosthetic and Orthotic Industry. All awards were nominated by Limbless Association members, prosthetic service users and industry professionals. Eric Ollerenshaw MP addressed the guests and presented the awards alongside John Reid, Chairman of the Limbless Association. Carly Duffett, Events Manager at the Limbless Association commented: “it was an honour to be amongst such inspirational people from all corners of life. Thank you and congratulations to all nominees and winners’. The event was supported by Ann Begg MP and held at Portcullis House, Westminster. Text Limb30 £10 to 70070 to donate to the Limbless Association. EMPOWER in association with the



Rehabilitation Services Prosthetics I Orthotics Physiotherapy I Counselling Occupational Therapy Immediate Needs Assessments Expert Witness Services

Above the elbow amputee Jon-Allan Butterworth powering to glory

Back to life – inspiring National Referral Centre Tel: 0845 450 7357 Email: info@pacerehab.com

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Natural Hero to the rescue! Natural Hero feel-good sports body care range helps recharge your tired body and mind. The natural muscle rub, sports spray and muscle soak feel and smell great when applied to the skin. The skin conditioning blends contain premium grade essential oils which combat muscle fatigue through their warming and cooling effects. Hot Ginger Muscle Rub is great for massage with its easily absorbed cream formula containing a blend of starflower, rosemary, fennel & vanilla to soothe, warm and restore.

Paralympians Support Sports Legacy: At ProActive Prosthetics


tef Reid (Paralympic Silver Medalist – long jump), John McFall (Paralympic Bronze Medallist – 100m sprint) and Paralympic coach Tim Stevenson, joined nine amputees (aged between 7 and 56) for a running day hosted by ProActive Prosthetics.

The day, which started with some motivational talks and tips on prosthetic running techniques at ProActive Prosthetics Clinic, was followed by an afternoon at Charterhouse School running track in Godalming. In glorious sunshine the track session

started gently with some warm up exercises and culminated in a sprint race, long jump and hurdles. As well as Paralympic athletes, the amputees were joined by some family and friends on the track which made for a fun afternoon for all. Most of the amputees were new to running, some of them trying blades for the first time, but several joined the running day with specific goals in mind including Kiera Roche (an above knee amputee) who plans to run in the London Marathon in 2014. Stef Reid spoke of her love of sport prior to her accident and her subsequent return to sport and journey to becoming a Paralympian. “Don’t listen to people who say you can’t [do things], just do it,” said Stef with a big smile “but do listen to physios and coaches who will teach you how to get fit and stay fit to do your sport.” She added “As an amputee it is even more important to be fit and strong to enable you to do more in your life. It feels great …..I want to stay fit so that I can still walk when I am older.”

The botanical blend includes peppermint, arnica, white willow, blue chamomile. Hot Ginger Muscle Soak’s 100% natural bubble-free, great smelling, formula recharges and relaxes you. It can be used as a bath oil or in the shower massaged in to the skin.

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Cool Peppermint Muscle Spritz works well to revive and feel energised. The dual “freeze” effect is followed by a light warmth on the surface of the skin to help ease tension.

John McFall spoke of his Paralympic experience. Now, a trainee doctor, John sets himself different goals such as the Welsh 3000’s Challenge, which he dashed off to do the next day. “I am off to test the limits of my new prosthetic knee!” said John with a grin. “I am really pleased that events like these are happening. It is great to see the Paralympic legacy in action.” Tim Stevenson (coach) who held the undivided attention of the junior athletes for the afternoon was very inspired by the day. “I had a great day and I really enjoyed meeting all these budding athletes.” Richard Nieveen, Director, ProActive Prosthetics commented that it was very special to see patients out on the track having fun. “We work with patients to make more possible. The

Paralympic movement and our partnership with UK Sport has increased awareness of possibilities for amputees and we are fortunate to be able to offer new technologies in sports prostheses for our patients. It is particularly good to see the next generation of budding athletes who will grow up using these new technologies.” Sarah Hope, mother of Pollyanna (aged 9) said, “Thank you for a truly wonderful day!!!! It was so much fun and Pollyanna loved it.” Charterhouse Club Commercial Director, Tim Ostle, said “We are proud to be able support ProActive Prosthetics in the tremendous work they do for amputees and were delighted that the clinic’s first running day held on our athletics track was such a success.”

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EMPOWER: NEWS body started to reject any complex foods, he got heartburn, digestion issues and by the end, all his body could tolerate was natural foods which were easy to digest. Keeping Richard fuelled was one of our biggest challenges. Recovery:

Richard Whitehead Runs Britain:


n 13 August 2013, Richard and his team set off from John O’Groats on his epic charity challenge to run the length of Britain for Sarcoma UK and Scope. 40 days later he completed his 40th marathon and arrived in Lands End having run 977 miles. Richard Whitehead is a true Paralympic Superhuman. He currently holds the leg amputee world record for the half and full marathon. He is the reigning Paralymic and World T42 200m Champion and holds the world record for the event. He also just ran the length of the country. Richard was supported on his journey by an experienced team. On top of the logistical support staff, drivers and motorcycle outriders, there was a medic, a prosthetist, photographer and PR manager during the whole event. The team also included Tim Stevenson, Richard’s Strength and Conditioning Coach and Gemma Telford, Sports Physiotherapist. With Richard have created oneathlete and work together to provide athletes with a truly integrated

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performance support team. Here is an overview of what oneathlete experienced throughout the 40 days. Physical Preparation: It’s fair to say that the lead up to the challenge was not conventional. In addition to building the endurance base required, Richard was also preparing to defend his T42 200m World Championship at the IPC World Athletics Championships in Lyon. Sprinting and marathon running do not traditionally go hand in hand! However, Richard has a great training background and maintains a level of physical conditioning which allowed his body to meet both challenges. Nutrition: Richard needed to try and consume 6,000 calories a day. The reality of doing that when running for around 6 hours a day is very difficult. Generally, before, during and after long distance running, athletes don’t feel like eating much. It’s not that they don’t want to, they just can’t. This was something that got harder as the event progressed and overall fatigue increased. Richard’s

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After completing a marathon, the biggest priority was to maximise recovery for the next day. That meant we had to find the right balance between different recovery methods, including sports massage, ice baths, nutrition and sleep. When you are staying in different hotels every night some of these things are not easy to do. Skin condition: Anyone who followed Richard’s progress would be aware that there were ongoing issues with the skin condition on his legs. We knew this might be a potential problem, but a number of contributing factors in northern Scotland brought our concerns to reality. A combination of very hot conditions, lots of downhill sections on poor road surfaces and firm trainer soles on his blades overloaded the tissue within his prosthetic sockets. After the third marathon there were blisters on the outside of his legs. Rich Hirons, the prosthetist from Ossur, did his best to adjust the sockets and even got a new set cast, but that took some time and the swelling meant he couldn’t even get his legs on. From then on, it was a case of managing this on a daily basis. The medics used a number of dressing methods and his legs were adjusted so that the wounds could be covered but continue to heal. A great team effort meant that the challenge continued.

runs on prosthetics. For me, it was an opportunity to change people’s perceptions of what the human body can achieve if you have a strong enough mindset. Yes, I’m disabled and I may have barriers to overcome, but so would anyone who wanted to run from John O’Groats to Lands End! I placed a strong team around me that I trusted and believed in which gave me the confidence to undertake such an epic journey! I believed it would be possible and I believe in myself as a leader and pioneer in my chosen field. Having that mental strength meant I could get up and run marathon after marathon. I knew it was going to be tough and in those dark times when I didn’t want to run, the positive things in my life would pull me through. Thinking about my family, the charities we were supporting and all the stories from the runners who joined us, pushed the team and I onwards. There were no medals at stake on this occasion, but hopefully many people have been inspired and lives have been changed. To find out more about Richard’s challenge go to www. richardwhiteheadrunsbritain. com and to learn more about integrated support for athletes check out: www.oneathlete.co.uk

The mental challenge by Richard Whitehead: 40 marathons in 40 days, nearly 6 weeks of constant running, a total of 977 miles. It would be easy to think completing it might be an unachievable challenge, particularly for someone who

Pictured: Richard Whitehead - oneathlete


The trio were competing in the inaugural Chillswim Coniston, a gruelling 5.25 mile, end to end open water swim of picturesque lake. The event certainly lived up to its name, as Joanna recalls, “Although the weather conditions were favourable, the lake felt decidedly chilly, averaging just 15.8 degrees Celsius.” As if the race wasn’t demanding enough, Steve bravely elected to swim without a wetsuit. As he explained, “I was attempting to acclimatise myself, in preparation for a cross Channel swim next year. However, that didn’t make it feel any less cold!” Despite the challenging conditions, all three successfully completed the race, with Jamie finishing in a time of 3 hours 7 mins and Steve just 4 minutes behind him. Joanna was delighted and relieved to exit the increasingly cold water after 3 hours 40 mins. Steve and Jamie will continue their preparations for their 2014 Channel Relay. The pair will be joined by another Pace patient, Conrad Thorpe, a former Commonwealth Games swimmer as they attempt to swim from England to France, raising funds for BLESMA (British Limbless Ex Service Men’s Association).

Kiera requested a leg that was delicate and feminine; she has a real passion for aqua blue and flowers but was happy for us to interpret this information into any given design. We were aiming for a porcelain effect. The flowers were taken from a mixture of retro botanical drawings and inlayed within the silicone to give a translucent effect “ I think losing a limb has a massive impact on one’s self esteem and body image. Having a beautifully crafted limb designed for you makes you feel special and worthy”

Kiera Roche

The Alternative Limb Project offers a friendly bespoke service to provide amputees with prosthetics that either blend in with the body or stand out as a unique piece of art that reflects the wearer’s imagination, personality and interests. These limb covers not only delight the eye, but empower the wearer and inspire a positive conversation about the human body and difference. Want an alternative limb but can’t afford it? 1) We are looking for three amputees (based in the UK) to use as case studies for a full feature documentary. The documentary will follow the creative process of designing a unique limb for each amputee. If this interests you please contact us for more information 2) We are seeking an amputee who is based in the UK, over 18 and into video games, they will get an alternative limb cover made for them by Altlimbpro amongst game perks. Please visit the website and contact us for more information: www.altlimbpro.com info@altlimbpro.com

Image Credit: Omkaar Kotedia


bove the knee amputee Steve White was joined by his Pace prosthetist Jamie Gillespie and physiotherapist Joanna Breslin, as they plunged in to Lake Coniston recently.


Image Credit: Rosemary Williams


“My expectations of the leg were high as I have seen Sophie’s other work and she is a very talented artist. When I received the leg it was better than I could have imagined, it can only be described as Awesome !“ Ryan Seary

THE GREAT PADDLE ROUND 2014! operations, spent many years in hospitals, physiotherapy, wheelchairs, pain, depressed and frustrated. This has not The aim of this challenge is only affected him but his family to raise money for the British and especially his children. But Limbless Ex-Servicemen’s Association (BLESMA) and to help throughout this, Rich has always people understand the great set his sights on the horizon and believes that if you stay work that they do for military personnel (and their families) determined to succeed you will who suffer the loss of their limbs ultimately reach your goals. or eye sight. The journey is expected to take around 5 months, but this is Through this challenge Richard wants to encourage others of course dependent on the who have a disability to take up weather. However long it takes watersports, in particular paddle Richard is determined to succeed sports. The technology exists to and complete the challenge for Blesma. accommodate most disabilities on the water these days and it is a great way to keep fit as well as www.thegreatpaddleround.co.uk having fun. www.facebook.com/ TheGreatPaddleRound Over the past 25 years Richard www.justgiving.com/ richieoneleg has undergone a total of 31 World Record in a kayak, which currently stands at 2010 miles.


ichard Hunt, a Royal Navy veteran, intends to become the first above knee amputee to successfully circumnavigate the UK coastline using a Tootega expedition grade sit-on-top kayak, a distance of approximately 2300 miles. This will be a solo undertaking with the back up of a shore crew, and will attempt to beat Helen Skelton’s solo distance Guinness

www.empowermagazine.org.uk--Page Page99 www.empowermagazine.org.uk


Walking with the Wounded South Pole Allied Challenge 2013 >> EMPOWER Interviews Andrew Cook - Director of Fundraising (Walking with the Wounded)


Why was Walking with the Wounded setup?

Walking With The Wounded (WWTW) was established to raise funds to finance the re-training of wounded servicemen and women and in so doing assist them in acquiring the skills and qualifications necessary to find new careers outside the military. 2. What is your Role in the charity?

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My role as Director of Fundraising is to manage our fundraising strategy and work with fundraisers, volunteers and third party partners to deliver against income targets set out in our five year plan.

• We have a growing network of volunteers across the UK who work within their counties to support the charity both in terms of direct fundraising as well as growing awareness of the work we undertake.

3. Who is the charity helping?

• You can visit our website www.wwtw.org.uk and download a fundraising pack which includes tips on how to get started with your fundraising activity.

Our ability to fundraise effectively ensures we can finance new qualifications, courses and further education through our First Steps program enabling the blind, the burn victims, the mentally injured, the amputees and all the other wounded to rebuild their lives and return to the work place and in so doing provide longterm security for themselves and their families.

• Spread the word – if you can’t volunteer support the charity by telling friends, family and colleagues about what we are up to…..

4. How can other people get involved?

5. What effect do the expeditions, such as the Virgin Money South Pole Allied Challenge, have on the charity and the people you support?

There are three key ways in which individuals and organisations can support the charity:

Since the charity was founded in 2010 we have organised and run ambitious expeditions to extreme parts of the world

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such as the North Pole in 2011, Mt Everest in 2012 and more recently The South Pole in December 2013. Our expeditions incorporate teams of wounded servicemen and women, both those with physical and mental injuries. So, why embark on these ambitious expeditions ? • To provide inspiration to those coping daily with injury and disability, be they military or civilian. • To raise awareness of ‘Our’ Wounded Community and the work Walking With The Wounded undertakes. • To demonstrate to ‘Our Wounded’ that they are able to achieve at the very highest level. • To highlight to Corporate UK the extraordinary skill, determination, ability and courage that members of the wounded community possess.

EMPOWER: WALKING WITH THE WOUNDED The other key benefit of our expeditions is having Prince Harry as our Patron, without his continued drive and support our role would be immeasurable harder, so the positive difference his involvement makes to the fundraising capability of the charity and subsequently our beneficiaries is enormous. 6. Are you in regular contact with the team on the expedition? In a nutshell yes we have daily contact with the teams via our communications infrastructure which allows us to speak with and receive updates from our expedition team members. This allows our supporters to feel part of the expedition and we are able to highlight the extraordinary efforts of our wounded servicemen and women every step of the way. 7. What are main concerns for the teams and your colleagues while away? Health and Safety is an integral part of the expeditions we have a medical team on the expedition who are on call 24/7 to provide medical support if and when required. With this in mind every fifth day is 24 hour rest day which allows the

medical team to undertake a thorough examination of everyone taking part. As part of our insurance and risk strategy we also have evacuation measures in place should any of the expedition team be required to leave the expedition. In terms of potential medical concerns one of the major potential problems are developing frost bite or ‘nips’ on the stumps of the amputees. This is the single biggest threat to a successful expedition. If the amputees stumps become cracked, infected or succumb to frost bite then it’s a real game changer so managing this element is critical. 8. What other events do you have planned? We are involved in several events each year, during 2014 we will have our Cumbrian Challenge in Grasmere which is taking place on June 13-15, details of which can be found via our website www.wwtw.org.uk . We also have a charity bike ride alongside several ex British & Irish Lions rugby players, there will be the chance to climb Kilimanjaro alongside wounded soldiers in October. In between which there will be extreme muddy running races, cycling

events as well as a talk at the Royal Geographical Society in April 2014 where we will be making a presentation about the South Pole expedition. All of these are open to the general public and we urge anyone interested to get in touch via andrew@wwtw.org.uk 9. Are there any other charities involved in this expedition? This is the first time one of our expeditions has included wounded soldiers from amongst our Allied forces. Alongside the UK team is a team representing The Commonwealth and the USA, as part of the recruitment process we identified and made contact with similar charities on the ground in Australia, Canada and the USA which has allowed us to make this a global event. It has also provided a platform for like-minded charities in our Allied territories to generate awareness and funds for their wounded communities. Our ethos is one whereby these men and women have fought together and we are providing a chance for them to continue that bond during their rehabilitation. 10. Is there any friendly rivalry between the teams? Yes there is plenty of healthy rivalry and each team is certainly very keen to get to the South Pole first, so we will all have to wait and see how that one pans out. 11. Which companies are involved in the event, what support have you received?

Prince Harry - Patron of the Walking With The Wounded South Pole Allied Challenge 2013

Virgin Money are the main expedition partner and as such are our lead sponsor, they have provided a Virgin Money Giving platform for our fundraising activities over and above which they have engaged all of the retail outlets and members of staff who have done an extraordinary job in supporting the charity and raising funds. The UK team is sponsored by

Glenfiddich who again provide crucial support both in terms of sponsorship and fundraising activities. In addition to which we have an insurance partner in Caitlin who underwrite the insurance for the expedition and Arqiva who have provided all of the comms equipment which enables us to really bring the expedition to life for our supporters and the other sponsors. Other organisations which have provided support included Prestat Chocolate, Elizabeth Arden eight hour cream which has proved perfect for our amputees to massage into their stumps to keep them moisturized and supple and Horlicks are our official drinks supplier. 12. What is the ultimate goal for the charity? To provide greater context our remit is to support veterans from past conflicts including but not limited to The Falklands, Northern Ireland, The Balkans, Gulf Wars I & II and Sierra Leone as well as current service leavers from the last ten years in Iraq and Afghanistan. When considering these conflicts the total WIS (wounded, injured and sick) is thought to be in excess of 65,000 ex service personnel. We spend on average £2,500 supporting the career transition from military to civilian employment equating to a financial need in the region of £165m. If we focus on our ambition to provide support to a minimum of 15% of the Wounded community over the next five years our financial need is closer to £25m. For further information please visit: www.wwtw.org.uk

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Understanding you individually Our clinicians are specialists in prosthetics, orthotics and rehabilitation services. As experts in our field with a commitment to the finest clinical care, we are now running private clinics from multiple locations in the UK, Ireland and India. • Consultation, assessment, prescription and fitting of all prosthetic limbs • Life-like, high definition cosmetic silicone for all types of amputation • Advanced function products such as Genium and C-Leg knees • Lightweight, comfortable limbs using the latest components and materials • Rehabilitation for amputees from physiotherapy to advice and support You can refer yourself directly to us for treatment by contacting us to arrange an initial consultation. Your requirements will be carefully discussed and the solution provided could truly change your future.

For more information or to book your free consultation, contact us today on 0800 072 3122 or info@abilitymatters.co.uk

Abingdon • Belfast • Bradford • Dublin • Oxford • Roehampton • Wimbledon • Winchester • New Delhi


Amputees in Action People, prosthetics and make-up our services to you... >> Interview questions to Mr John Pickup, Amputees in Action


Mr Pickup, could you please give our readers a brief overview of Amputees in Action and its activities? We focus on two main areas, casualty simulations for military and emergency services training and extras for film and TV. In both of these market sectors we provide amputee actors to add a gritty realism to the scenario being created. Our Trauma Casualty Amputees role players are enlisted to help the military and emergency services prepare in their training for every eventuality that they might come across in their day to day operations. Exercises we participate in can be anything from a mass civilian casualty CBRN incident to preparing Royal Marines to deal with the severe injuries caused by IEDs in a full scale pre-deployment simulation on Salisbury Plain. We have an incredible team of makeup artists who use cutting edge techniques and prosthetics to create ultra realistic injuries which are medically accurate to the type of incident.

2. What are the key advantages that the use of actors of Amputees in Action provides to military and security exercises and, in particular, to the involved personnel? We pride ourselves on the realism that our TCAs (“Trauma Casualty Amputees”) bring to training as

this is what is most valuable about what we do. Our actors play a role and stay in character throughout the scenario, responding to their treatment accordingly whether it is good or bad. Being able to practice on a real live person made up with accurate looking injuries means that personnel can gain the most realistic training possible. This realism offers them the experience of using their skills under pressure and to a degree helps them become desensitised to the horrors they may face in the field. Because our actors understand the implications of their treatment, they are well positioned to assess the response and offer extremely useful feedback to the exercising staff if required. For this reason, we are involved in medical validations, normally participating in the last test when students put everything they learn into practice.

3. What has been the feedback from troops and security personnel that participated in exercises relying on your actors? Did you receive specific views on the advantages of this level of realism, including with regard to the training of first responders and medical personnel? We always get great feedback from our clients, as the majority of them have never experienced anything like what we do. Participants in these

exercises value the experience of responding to our actors very highly as they really feel like they’ve had a ‘dry run’ of their training. Personnel are often very surprised at how realistic we can make an exercise and we often receive comments on how this makes it stand out from any other training they’ve received. Recently we worked with the Fire Brigade on an exercise and the directing staff said that the participants genuinely reacted as though our actors were injured, responding accordingly with all of the processes that would be necessary at an incident site.

4. To which military and security exercises will actors of Amputees in Action contribute in the upcoming months? In the coming months, we will be focusing on giving continued support to the tri-services and emergency services for their training in disaster management. Unfortunately this kind of training is in high demand given recent global events. We are busy working to help ensure that the military personnel, fire and rescue and medical support teams we send to disaster zones are fully prepared for the kinds of severe trauma they may come across.

profile ‘Peaky Blinders’ TV show on BBC 2. This year we have seen an increase in our services to the Film and Television industry being cast in films such as World War Z, Snow White & The Huntsman, Cockneys vs Zombies etc.

6. As our last question, we would like to ask you where you see Amputees in Action going in the next years. What are your personal visions and aims for the use of amputees in support of realistic training? We are always looking to develop new opportunities to expand our revenue streams and markets. We see a lot of potential to evolve the service we offer as the experience, knowledge and understanding we have gained through our activities over the years means we can offer a really valuable insight into trauma management.

5. What films / TV have Amputees in Action featured?

The majority of amputees on our books owe their lives to medical intervention, not only by the first person to respond to their injury, but by doctors, paramedics, surgeons and consultants, whether in the military or civilian sphere. First response is obviously vital, but we would also like to integrate our services into the long term training of a broad range of personnel, rather than trainees only experiencing it during the final stages of a course or as part of a refresher scheme.

Amputees in Action have most recently featured in the high

To find out more visit: www.amputeesinaction.co.uk

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Pimp my Chair! S

pokeGuards started life as an idea after seeing wheelchairs being used in a charity fashion show called Disabled and Sexy. What stood out, in what was an exciting cat walk show, was the real lack of colour and visual interest of the wheelchairs being used by the models.

Since September 2012, Frank and Hilary Rodgers have designed and supplied personalised SpokeGuards to over 250 customers from all over the country. What started as an idea to supply SpokeGuards in professional football team colours for disabled supporters has now expanded into a wide range of available designs. As well as having Merchandising agreements with many Premier League and Football league clubs, SpokeGuards has started to develop its children’s market. The latest addition to the children’s range has seen four different designs available as Official Merchandising for the pop group One Direction. Many customers wish to have truly personalised SpokeGuards with a variety of requests being received. At the start of December, the first Christmas themed SpokeGuards complete with holly and a snowman were supplied to one of their regular customers. Many clients have sent in photographs of their favourite

pets which have been transferred to SpokeGuards, in addition to requests for images of wild animals. The last three months have seen designs being produced and SpokeGuards printed using photographs of Red Squirrels, Dolphins, Killer Whales and Polar Bears as well as many family favourites, such as dogs and horses. Whatever your personal choice of design, SpokeGuards can print it. If the image is covered by copyright ownership, they will endeavour to contact the copyright owners on your behalf to ask for approval to use the image.

If you have any questions or you would like further information, please call:

Frank Rodgers

07 584 207 019

Whatever your personal choice of design, SpokeGuards can print it

Alternatively you can visit us at:


www.empowermagazine.org.uk - Page 15


A groundbreaking new prosthetic system >> Patient Case Study - Matthew Newbury (Supplied by ProActive Prosthetics)

Matthew lost his left leg above the knee in a motorcycle accident aged 15, and following almost a year of in-patient care through the NHS, Matthew was referred to Richard Nieveen for supply of a new prosthetic leg. Matthew was in a somewhat difficult situation as he shattered his right ankle very nearly beyond repair, and suffered multiple fractures to his right leg.


The technology available in 2012 is amazing, and to be able to become involved with the very early stages of such a new and exciting product is a real privilege

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ver the past ten years he has received his prosthetic care from Richard Nieveen, and recently became the first patient to wear the groundbreaking new prosthetic system Genium. “When I first met Richard, I knew almost nothing about the world of prosthetic medicine, but very quickly trusted Richard completely, and realised instantaneously that I had found someone who would become integral to my life! From the word go Richard was focused not only on my missing leg as you might expect, but also on building me a new one which would elongate the life of my remaining right leg & ankle. Ten years on, I don’t want to say the ankle is 100% trouble free, but know for certain that without Richard’s intervention early on things would be significantly harder for me.” Matthew was fitted with a new socket and new leg back in 1998 and at the time friends

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and family remarked on the vast improvement Matthew enjoyed almost overnight, almost immediately Matthew was able to return to work, and secured a job working in the lighting department of a theatre in London’s West End. Matthew, who has since branched out into other industries and now runs several successful businesses, attributes his ability to continue to work and travel as much as he does to the care he receives from Pro-Active Prosthetics. “I am very fortunate and don’t have to attend many medical appointments nowadays, although now, and throughout the whole time, visiting Richard has never been something which has caused me a problem, or which I have been nervous about like some of the others, and in actual fact something I rather enjoy.” Following receipt of a damages settlement in 2004, Richard fitted Matthew with one of the UK’s first C-Legs by

German manufacturer Otto Bock, and following 7 years of successful use Matthew was then fitted with the UK’s first Genium, a new system by the same manufacturer. “The technology available in 2012 is amazing, and to be able to become involved with the very early stages of such a new and exciting product is a real privilege, and while there has been much written about this technology, all amputees will know and understand the socket fit is as much, if not a bigger part, of the leg as a whole – and the thing that can stop you in your tracks. I’ve been so lucky over the years not to have really suffered from any of those problems, and on the odd occasion when I have Richard, has gone out of his way to see me at short notice, and always sorted the problem first time!” To read more case studies from ProActive Prosthetics visit: www.proactiveprosthetics. co.uk/patient-case-studies/

The BIOM foot and ankle unit offers a significant advantage to the individual in terms of a better functioning foot and ankle complex with increased range of motion

Photo Credit: Huw Williams

Photo Credit: Huw Williams


The BiOMic Man:


uring December 2012, representatives from American company BiOM® visited Pace Rehabilitation to demonstrate their powered ankle prosthetic device. The unique design of the BiOM provides powered assistance to the user, claiming to enable leg amputees to walk faster, with less energy expenditure and offer assistance when ascending stairs. During the visit, Pace’s two amputee members of staff had the opportunity to try the device and provide their colleagues with feedback. Immediately they felt the benefits of the revolutionary device, as prosthetist Jamie Gillespie recalled, “The additional weight of the BiOM (compared to a passive foot) was completely offset by the added function it delivered. It provided me with the fastest, yet least effort, walking gait I’d experienced as an established amputee.”

Following this positive initial experience, Pace arranged clinical trials for four patients earlier this year. As part of their assessment, they attended the University of Salford for independent gait analysis. As Pace prosthetist Toby Carlsson explained, “The function that the BiOM is claimed to restore comes at a significant financial cost. Therefore we wanted to obtain some objective data on how it performs, before committing to prescribing and recommending the device.” When compared to the patient’s existing (passive) prostheses, the University’s report stated that, “The BIOM foot and ankle unit offers a significant advantage to the individual in terms of a better functioning foot and ankle complex with increased range of motion.” In October, following his trial and successful request for funding through his solicitor, Jozef Metelka, became the first amputee outside of Northern

America to purchase and be fitted with a BiOM. A delighted Jozef said, “It’s unlike any other design I have tried. It’s as if my (amputated) leg has come alive again.” Adding, “I participate in several high level activities, including cycle racing (see insert), so it’s important that I rest when I can. The powered assistance from the BiOM makes my everyday activities less demanding, so I have more energy for my sporting performances.” At £55,000, for a complete below the knee prosthesis, this latest technology is at the cutting edge of design with a price reflecting that. Jamie concluded, “The current cost is extremely high and we appreciate that it will only be available to the fortunate few at this time. However, we hope that future developments will allow more accessibility for a greater number of amputees who will surely benefit from this design.”

www.empowermagazine.org.uk - Page 17

Specialists in Prosthetic and Orthotic Rehabilitation IDS is a specialist Prosthetics/Orthotics/Footwear provider based on the Cappagh National Orthopaedic Hospital campus in Dublin.

Š Ottobock • UK/ADV/IDS/0496

We are one of the largest suppliers of such healthcare services in Ireland, covering the majority of the country via our main clinic in Dublin and a further 13 satellite clinics in other hospitals. Our services are available to Private and Publicly funded clients, with all initial assessments being free of charge. Feel free to contact us or visit our website where you will find more information about our services and products for our clients as well as information for Healthcare Professionals referring to our service.

IDS Ltd, Cappagh National Orthopaedic Hospital, Finglas, Dublin 11 T: 01 834 8970

E: admin@idsltd.ie


Faye Jameson When mother Jacinta Jameson’s first child was born without his tibia on both legs it was a shock. When her second child was born with the same rare condition, her life changed dramatically. But neither she nor her children have let limb-loss stop them from leading full and active lives. Faye is 11 years old, loves boxing, soccer and swimming – not things you expect from an amputee. Faye lost her left leg when she was only a year old after she had been born without her tibia bone. “I remember noticing I was different when I was about two or three”, she says cheerfully, “I don’t really notice anymore though as it never stops me doing anything!” “The kids at school think my prosthetic leg is really cool and they’re always looking at the pictures on it” – Faye currently has pictures of her idols Katie Tyler and Michael Carruth and likes to change the covers every time she gets a new leg (previous stars include the Irish duo Jedward and football team Celtic).

“The kids at school think my prosthetic leg is really cool and they’re always looking at the pictures on it” Faye’s mother Jacinta adds “Faye always finds a way to participate – she’s never let her prosthetic leg stop her from doing anything”. Jacinta’s first child Sean, now 15 years old, is a bi-lateral amputee. Sean lost both his legs when he was nine months old to the same condition. He also enjoys soccer and has won awards for his swimming in recent years. Faye and Sean are both patients at Cappagh hospital’s Ottobock / IDS clinic and have been treated there through the health service since their childhood. “The team at Ottobock / IDS have been fantastic and are always happy to help. If the kids ever break one of their prosthetics, it’s fixed right away”. Jacinta goes on to describe what it is like to be a mother to two children with congenital limb loss, “It was very hard in the beginning. It’s hard to accept. But I’ve never treated them differently and it’s never stopped them achieving anything.”


The future for Faye and Sean is bright as prosthetic technology continues to improve, but as congenital limb-loss is genetic, their mother fears for their future. “There’s a good chance that their own children will have the same condition, and it does worry me – but to see how well both Faye and Sean are doing helps.” And what about advice for other parents who might be faced with a similar future? “Try everything. Even if it seems to hard or impossible – give it a try because you’ll be surprised at just how much they can do. It will always be hard at the start, but never stop encouraging them”. Ottobock / IDS is a specialist Prosthetics/Orthotics/ Footwear provider based in the Cappagh National Orthopaedic hospital in Dublin. It is the largest supplier of such services in Ireland, covering the majority of the country via their main clinic in Dublin and a further 13 satellite clinics across the country.

www.empowermagazine.org.uk - Page 19


Our aim is to always exceed expectations


lgeos is controlled and owned by the Sheridan family and was established to bring together our investments and international subsidiaries: Algeos Australia; Algeos India; Algeos Middle East; Algeos USA and Algeos UK. The Algeos distribution network allows clinicians, technicians and patients to benefit from stronger purchasing power, economies of scale, international knowledge sharing and greater sourcing ability.


Our Aortha brand offers the latest material technology for use within the Orthotics and Prosthetics sector

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The most important members of Algeos are our employees. With Algeos having a family history dating back to 1881 and the Sheridan family picking up the baton in 1990 we are very proud of being a family business and all the advantages that this holds with 4 members of the Sheridan family being involved in the management of the group. With almost 100 employees across the world we work as a tight unit to provide the highest possible service and product quality to our large customer base of clinicians, technicians, end users, patients and distributors. Within Algeos we have Podiatrists, Physios, Orthotists, Prosthetists and Technicians to offer the best training, education and service we can provide. We design and develop many products under our own exciting brands that are performing extremely well on a global basis. Each brand incorporates innovative products that are manufactured to the highest standards. Marketing material is also available to support each of the brands. The brand we are mainly focusing on in this edition is Aortha. Our Aortha brand offers the latest material technology for use within the Orthotics and Prosthetics sector. The Aortha range includes a huge variety of sheet foams, CAD-CAM materials, thermoplastics and carbon composites.

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All Aortha materials are available in a comprehensive range of specifications, sizes and colours, are cost effective and offer superior consistent quality. Algeos have worked tirelessly over the past 12 months to compile a comprehensive range of Prosthetic related consumables. A particular area of interest has been with Prosthetic stump socks and stump shrinkers. There are various socks and shrinker options available to clinicians and amputees throughout the UK. The range Algeos have compiled is comprehensive and innovative as our products incorporate advanced technologies such as X-Static silver and Coolmax.

established long standing relationships with all the leading UK Orthotic and Prosthetic companies. Algeos are well renowned for being the market leader in material technology to support product development and innovation in Orthotics and Prosthetics. Algeos have an excellent reputation for providing our customers with outstanding service, consistent products and value for money. Our aim is to always exceed expectations.

We know the quality, performance and durability of our products will allow the user to feel much more confident when wearing the prosthesis and allow greater freedom to pursue their daily activities. Algeos have also expanded into Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation with an exciting range of consumables and equipment. One range of products that could be of interest is Ice Power. This fast acting gel quickly and safely removes pain and inflammation. The product also starts to work almost immediately after application. Aortha products are widely used throughout the UK by Clinicians, Technicians and Patients and Algeos has

Available in 75ml tube or 400ml bottle with pump

For further information about our products please visit:

www.algeos.com or call us on:

0151 448 1228

Feel X-Static about Algeos Prosthetic Socks and Shrinkers Feel the change for the better by introducing Algeos fantastic range of hi-tech stump shrinkers into your clinic. The X-Silver AK and BK stump shrinker incorporates X-Static silver for added anti-microbial protection. These shrinkers have a unique stretch design which provides gradient compression ensuring a perfect fit every time. Available in all the standard sizes used throughout the UK. Comfort by name, comfort by nature. The unique blend of Acrylic and Lycra provides a degree of stretch and conformance to the residual limb that is not possible with other fibre combinations. With all of these advantages, the Regal sock is truly in a league of its own and the Comfort AG Prosthetic Stretch Sock is like no other prosthetic sock available on the market! The AG is made using CoolMax® fabric plaited with X-Static silver, providing the user with smart materials not found in many competitor products.

• X-Static silver - provides anti-microbial protection eliminating odour causing bacteria and fungi • Manoeuvrable gel band to hold the sock in place • CoolMax - wicks moisture away from the body to help keep the wearer dry and comfortable • Affordable and readily available

X-Silver AK Stump Shrinker

X-Silver BK Stump Shrinker

Comfort AG

Comfort Regal

Full details on our great range of Stump Shrinkers can be found at: algeos.com; search for Prosthetic Supplies within our O&P section.


AIM Amputation, Inspiration & Motivation


tephen Cruse, A bilateral below knee amputee, victim of a major road traffic Accident he has gone on to use walking prostheses, runningprostheses, swimming prostheses, driving a car, riding a motorbike, cycling and has pushed and developed a small amputee user group that met for two hours once monthly into a local award winning charity - Andy Reid, A triple amputee, right below knee, left above knee and full right arm, victim of an IED whilst on patrol in Afghanistan in 2009, he has gone on to use walking prostheses, running prostheses, cycling prostheses and various arm prostheses, he has also managed to raise vast sums of money for various army charities Both Andy and Stephen have experienced life-changing amputations they have found a huge problem with the services that are available to persons facing amputation or persons forced into amputation like themselves, also from two strong people that are continuously being told how inspirational they are, they have decided to use their skills to create a better future for more amputees What is AIM trying to achieve? We AIM to give inspiration and motivation to persons of all walks of life so that they can develop their own understanding of a better future and learn ways of moving forward in life to their full potential whether this being as an individual or as a team member, through workshops, talks and activity days.

can increase productivity by improving employees working relationships with each other, showing employees the brighter future through cooperative team management and teaching and promoting healthier lifestyles. Who will benefit? There are four sectors that will benefit from this business the main one being the amputees that we bring in to our program and inspire and motivate to give them a positive outlook on their future the second being the groups and organizations that buy our services, as they will gain great motivational workshops and obtain greater productivity and a better working environment, thirdly the benefits agency will be relieved of persons claiming benefits as the more amputees we bring through our program will be looking to gain employment after realizing they have worth within the community last but not least the NHS will benefit hugely from us as we will be changing the way many people think and helping them to motivate themselves Contact Information: Amputation, Inspiration and Motivation CIC Unit 3 Ruskin Leisure Dentons Green St Helens Merseyside WA10 6RP 01744 808 100 email: info@weareaim.org website: www.weareaim.org

AIM will also be changing the way that amputation is perceived, we will encourage people to be proud of their prostheses and not be afraid to wear it in public and not have to hide it. What is the need for AIM? Research has proven that motivating and inspiring people within the workplace

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Get the best out of living

 Specialist Prosthetic care  Hitech Prosthetic components  Silicone restoration  Sport Prosthetic  Medicolegal  Prosthetic reports and assessments  Private prosthetic care at affordable prices  Over 20 years experience  Sports Limb Specialist  Fast delivery – cast to delivery can be in 48hrs  Prosthetic products available for users to purchase direct  Weekend treatments

Free C-Leg and Genium trials Quote LA2013

For more information contact 01420 563247 Email info@limbsolutions.co.uk or visit our website www.limbsolutions.co.uk

Private Prosthetic Services

Polar Kool Max® cooling vests can help you stay cool and comfortable! "The Kool Max Torso Vest is working sooo good. I am an amputee and this is keeping my body temperature stable to help with my blood pressure. It has been a God send." - Darlene

www.jacksontechnical.co.uk Jackson Technical Solutions

Maintaining your comfort since 2002

0845 644 3171 Directors pictured left to right: Andy Reid, Jackie Palmer & Stephen Cruse

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The official UK distributor of Polar Products cooling systems


Creating a prosthesis to match individual needs


roActive Prosthetics is an independent healthcare company delivering a best practice interdisciplinary approach for new and existing amputees. Combining a patient need for quality products, comfort, capability and a cosmetic look with a caring and dedicated approach, they understand that they are treating the whole person and not just the physical need for a prosthesis. Offering high intensity treatment for both new and established patients, they understand that each prosthetic user is an individual,

with different levels of activities and different desires and goals for the future. Working with patients, creating a prosthesis to match individual needs. They offer a range of therapies to enable the user to get the best use out of their prosthesis. ProActive Prosthetics are trained and qualified to fit state of the art prosthetics. They were the first UK centre to fit the Ottobock Genium™ microprocessor knee and are the most experienced UK clinic in the fitting of this type of knee. ProActive Prosthetics have

recently appointed a Prosthetist / Orthotist to the team to provide a broader range of support for their patients. Jane Hunter, who qualified in prosthetics and orthotics at Strathclyde University, has many years’ experience in prosthetics and orthotics both in the UK and overseas. Many amputees, particularly those that have lost limbs as a result of trauma have orthotic in addition to their prosthetic needs. In addition to providing everyday care, ProActive Prosthetics hold events throughout the year to encourage and help patients in all aspects of their rehabilitation. Their open days are always well attended by patients, friends and families; last year they held a celebration of the London 2012 Paralympic success when patients were able to spend time with the two Paralympic athletes Stef Reid and Scott Moorhouse. This year ProActive Prosthetics hosted a running clinic enabling patients to try running supported by a coach, physiotherapist, and two Paralympic sprinters. Next year ProActive Prosthetics will host a Ladies Day when female patients will have the opportunity to meet and share experiences, with talks on ‘fitness for life’ by their Paralympic Athlete Stef Reid and some physiotherapy reminders from their physiotherapist. They will also have an opportunity to see a short film called ‘The Fitting Room’ which has been made by a group of female patients at the Stanmore Orthopedic Hospital Limb Fitting Centre.

There will be a Genium™ Day when all their Genium™ patients will have the opportunity to meet and to have a refresher training day with expert Genium™ user and Paralympic Athlete, John McFall. ProActive Prosthetics also hold seminars and workshops for healthcare professionals. Their location and facilities make it an ideal location for physiotherapy and prosthetic training events. In addition ProActive Prosthetics host educational days for Personal Injury Lawyers and Case Managers to facilitate a greater understanding of the developments and needs of amputee rehabilitation.

If you would like to find out more about ProActive Prosthetics and the services or events they offer:

Call: 01252 702500 Email:

clinic@proactiveprosthetics .co.uk

Visit our website:


www.empowermagazine.org.uk - Page 23


We can help you make a claim for compensation Whether you’ve suffered from: Surgical errors / Misdiagnosis / Hospital acquired infections Delay in cancer diagnosis / Negligent care / General injury

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New Nurse-to-Patient Ratios to be Launched >> Written by Suzanne Yates - Asons Solicitors

A series of measures are to be put in place, encouraging the NHS to undergo a “Profound transformation.” Recommended nurse-to-patient ratios will be introduced, in the hope that care will improve, lowering the prevalence of medical negligence.


etails will be published, highlighting whether or not there are enough nurses on hospital wards; numbers which will then be published on a new national safety website. While there will be no national staffing standard in place, the numbers published will be compared to recommended nurse-to-patient ratios for different types of ward. Highlighted during the recent Francis enquiry, staffing levels have been a source of debate. It is believed, that medical negligence claims are often rooted in wards being under staffed, and medical professionals over worked, leaving room for mistakes to be made. It is expected that highlighting breaches in the recommended levels will lead to improvements in patient care. Discussing the new measures, Labour’s shadow health secretary, Andy Burnham said: “Too many hospitals in England do not have safe staffing levels. We have repeatedly warned the government about nurse numbers falling to dangerous levels. This new focus on recruitment is overdue but it shouldn’t have taken this long and it won’t be enough to repair the damage of three years of falling nurse numbers.”

The new national safety website will be running by June, publishing the staffing levels of each ward, each day, to be updated monthly. It is still to be decided what the recommended staffing levels will be, as numerous factors need to be taken into account. Levels will depend on the numbers of patients on the ward, whether it is a day or night shift, and the care needs of the patients on the ward; for example, the ratios will vary greatly between geriatric, surgical, and intensive care wards. It is believed, that conforming to ideal Nurse-to-Patient ratios will improve the standard of care given; and as a Consequence, the prevalence of medical negligence will be lowered. A patient is owed a duty of care, and while it is easy understand how mistakes can happen when staff are under pressure, it is crucial that the expected level of care is maintained. Highlighting where there are not enough Nurses has the potential to alleviate such issues. Medical Negligence is something that should be safeguarded against; and those who regularly visit hospital, be it for routine health checks, physiotherapy, investigations, or surgery, should be especially diligent. Incidents of Medical

Negligence have the potential to impair recovery, even exposing the patient to new complications, which may become more damaging than the original complaint. If someone has suffered as a result of negligence, then they have a legal right to compensation. They may have had to endure physical or mental injury, as well as financial hardship from taking unanticipated time off work. Taking action also has the potential to help prevent the same situation from reoccurring, protecting others from injury in future. The launch of the new Nurse-toPatient ratios has the potential to protect patients from medical negligence, highlighting the wards, and hospitals, where Nurses are consistently overstretched. With this in mind, for these new measures to be a success, hospitals will need to take the published figures on board, as without their involvement changes cannot take root. While it shouldn’t be necessary, it is crucial that patients remain diligent; questioning the circumstances where the care provided is a cause for concern. Suzanne Yates works for Asons Solicitors, a Bolton-based UK

law practice. Described as a ‘Young and Dynamic’ firm, Asons specialise in Medical Negligence, Industrial Disease and Personal Injury Claims. For further information visit:


Too many hospitals in England do not have safe staffing levels. We have repeatedly warned the government about nurse numbers falling to dangerous levels

www.empowermagazine.org.uk - Page 25


Helping you get back into the swing of things Losing a limb does not mean losing your independence. At Thompsons, we have helped thousands of adults and children to adapt and enhance their lifestyles following an amputation. With over 90 years of experience, we understand the physical, emotional and psychological impact that losing a limb can have on individuals and their families. The Thompsons Serious Injury Team brings together the most dedicated serious injury lawyers from every corner of the UK, so there is someone close by wherever you are.

Compensation claim advice: Whether it’s helping you to come to terms with your amputation, accessing the best medical care or ensuring that you regain your independence as quickly as possible, we can put you in contact with a network of experts and support you through a compensation claim. To help you think about what a claim involves, here are some important points to consider:

Timings In the UK, there is a standard time limit of three years from the date of an accident in which a claim for compensation can be made. It is always best to seek legal advice as soon as possible so that a solicitor can thoroughly prepare your claim and, where appropriate, apply for interim payments to help ease the financial strain during your treatment if you are unable to work. Some exceptions to the time limit do exist, and special rules apply for children or adults who lack legal capacity, but it is always best to take legal advice as soon as possible.

Rehabilitation and care After you are discharged from hospital, you will need a plan for your continuous care. You may need to see several specialists to arrange long term of lifelong support. Our close working links with dedicated client support co-ordinators, occupational therapists, prosthetic specialists and the Limbless Association mean you can trust us to access the specialist information and rehabilitation support that you need.

Evidence In order to make a successful claim, we will need to prove that someone else was to blame for your injuries. If you were injured at work, your employer at the time was responsible for providing a safe environment and appropriate equipment. If you were injured in a road traffic accident, it may be that another driver was driving without full care and attention. The stronger the evidence, which may include photography of your accident or injuries, the stronger your claim will be.

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Compensation Compensation is awarded for pain, suffering and the inability to do things you could do before your accident. It can also cover the effects that an accident has had on your physical mobility and mental health. Our team is totally committed to securing the best possible outcome for clients, in the shortest possible time. Compensation claims can cover the following:

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Lost Earnings After an injury, you may be entitled to claim for the loss of earnings to cover time off work, to support you if you are unable to return to work or have to take a drop in wages to carry out a less-physical role. We can also help you claim all travelling expenses incurred because of an accident, including those of close relatives visiting you in hospital. Keeping receipts will help support your claim.

Healthcare Costs After suffering a serious injury such as an amputation, you will probably need on-going medical treatment for some time. The cost of any medical treatment, including rehabilitation, physiotherapy, prescription costs, psychological and neurological treatment and cosmetic surgery, can all be included as part of your claim.

Adaptations to Lifestyle Adapting your surroundings to allow you to function as normally as possible can be expensive and your claim for compensation can also cover the costs of the full range of prosthetics, a wheelchair or other walking aid, and even a car or an adapted, accessible home to meet your needs.

Call us on 0800 0 224 224 or visit: www.thompsons.law.co.uk to get advice from our specialist serious injury team.

We support you


Amputee puts his best (bionic) foot forward Not so long ago, the idea of people being fitted with bionic prosthetic feet would have been confined to the realms of science fiction, but they are now being offered to amputees in the UK for the first time. Even though he lost his leg in a motorcycle accident in 2009, Jozef Metelka swore that it wouldn’t stop him fulfilling his sporting dreams. The selfconfessed adrenaline junkie from Oxford admits, “The accident turned my world upside down but as soon as I could get out of hospital I was back in the gym and trying to exercise as I was doing before. It was very frustrating in the beginning as I had to get used to the crutches and it was difficult for me to come to terms with the fact that I didn’t have my foot. My first prosthetic was from the NHS and it helped me through the first few weeks after my

new-law.co.uk |

operation but it soon became apparent that, for me to continue my sporting lifestyle, I was going to need something more”. Hilton Obery, a Solictor at NewLaw, first met Jozef in April 2009 at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford. After such a traumatic event Jozef was alone in the country, with little or no understanding of what he should do next. Hilton recalls giving Jozef his mobile number in case he needed any help, “I remember he rang me on Good Friday to explain that he was going to have his amputation the following day. At this stage I was essentially offering the services of a Welfare Officer, as he didn’t have one. We very quickly appointed a Case Manager so that he could get additional support.” NewLaw assisted by directing the Case Manager to the most relevant experts in their field and organised interim

compensation payments for Jozef, allowing him to move to more appropriate accommodation in August 2009. These interim payments have not only allowed Jozef to continue to do the things that are most important to him, but also enable him to be the recipient of a rather special prosthetic. In the Summer of 2009 NewLaw referred Jozef to PACE Rehabilitation for an immediate needs assessment and, after initial fittings, the 27 year old became the first recipient in Europe of the American BiOM power assisted ankle system. After being in development for six years the BiOM has been fitted to several hundred amputees in the US and Canada, but only recently became available in the UK. Invented by Professor Hugh Hurr, himself a double leg amputee, its design evolved within the leg laboratory at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Harvard University and is the first prosthetic

...with a little help from NewLaw. foot which provides power to the user, allowing the amputee to walk faster and with less energy. His solicitor, Hilton, understands the difference this has made to Jozef, “By providing this latest prosthetic technology, we’re giving Jozef the best opportunity to return to as close to his pre-accident situation as possible. We are always looking to assist our clients in getting the newest technology and, in Jozef’s case, he’s the first person in Europe to have this prosthetic”. At £55,000 for the whole prosthesis, this latest technology is at the cutting edge of design with a price reflecting that. A representative from PACE said, “We appreciate that it will only be available to the fortunate few at this time. However, we hope that future developments will allow more accessibility for a greater number of amputees who will surely benefit from this design”.

Jozef, who has been skiing and mountain biking since he was three and playing tennis since he was six, could not imagine a life without sport. “I have been very fortunate to receive great prosthetic support and have tried to continue to lead an active life.”

“I have been very fortunate to receive great prosthetic support”

energy, but I still walk faster! It’s unlike any other design I have tried, it’s as if my amputated leg has come alive again and without NewLaw’s help, I wouldn’t be wearing it today”. Jozef has no plans to stop striving to achieve more and is looking forward to trying out the next addition to his collection, a rollerblading leg!

For more information on how NewLaw can support you,

He is now the owner of 12 specially crafted prosthetic legs, allowing him to compete in cycling races across the world and to become a professional ski instructor, but the sports lover’s favourite prosthetic is his BiOM foot. “I try to focus as much of my energy to these high level activities, so it’s important that I rest when I can. Using the BiOM foot for everyday use allows me to use less

call Rob Thomas on 0333 321 7496, or email him on Robert.thomas@new-law.co.uk

We support you

solicitors Tel: 0333 321 7496

Personal Injury

Scott’s Story Life for Manchester teenager, Scott Wall, was turned up-side-down when he was knocked down in a ‘hit and run’ incident just a few hundred yards from his home in Droylsden. Scott, who was 17 at the time, had been making his way to the local gym when he stopped to talk to a friend on the pavement at the side of the road. He was struck by a car driven by an uninsured, unlicensed driver which had sped out of control whilst breaching road traffic signals, pinning Scott against a wall. The driver and passenger of the vehicle fled the scene immediately after but were apprehended after police investigations. His friend managed to get out of the way of the vehicle, but Scott was not so lucky and sustained serious injuries.

He was rushed to the Accident and Emergency Department at Tameside General Hospital and had to undergo a below-the-knee amputation to his left leg. His lower right leg was also very seriously injured and emergency doctors only just managed to save it.

Positive actions From the beginning, Scott and his family received support from Irwin Mitchell’s inhouse Client Liaison Team. Scott’s Mum was determined to get the best possible care for her son and worked closely with Jonathan Betts and the team to investigate the possibilities of getting an extension annex built at the family home.

Jonathan Betts, partner and a member of Scott’s legal team, commented: “Due to the traumatic nature of Scott’s injuries he could not climb or descend stairs which was a huge issue, as at the time of the incident the only bathroom facilities were on the first floor.”

Personal Injury

“I am so lucky I had such a strong team of people around me, including Mum, who fought hard with my lawyer to ensure I received the best possible treatment.” - Scott

Working together From the outset, a collaborative approach was adopted in dealings between Irwin Mitchell and the Motors Insurers Bureau (MIB), who were ultimately responsible for handling Scott’s legal claim as the driver of the car had been uninsured. Irwin Mitchell managed to secure their agreement to implement the code of best practice for early intervention and rehabilitation. This resulted in the MIB providing case management, occupational therapy and architectural assistance together with funds to build a self contained annex to the side of the family house within just three months of the incident. The annex had its own custom built bedroom and bathroom. This was a real triumph and restored some dignity for Scott who had for a short time been living in the family dining room where all his care and personal needs were met.

The relationship between Irwin Mitchell and the MIB and subsequently their solicitors, was excellent. Interim funds were available not just for Scott’s needs but those of his family too.

Now 20 years old, Scott is currently studying Business Management at Salford Univerisity. Its only through the collective and dedicated commitment of Scott, his family, the care and legal team that Scott has progressed so far after his incident and he is now optimistic about his future.

Interim payments were also secured for surgery on a private basis and for the provision of vehicles, wheelchairs and other equipment that was needed. Scott hit the headlines in 2006 for being one of the first people in the UK to wear a bionic foot which he had fitted at a clinic in South Manchester.

Dedicated commitment The value of building links between the Irwin Mitchell legal team and that of the Motor Insurers Bureau to ensure Scott’s immediate and future needs, were considered above everything else. Crucially, this ensured that Scott and his family could concentrate on his progress.

To talk to a specialist advisor today simply call free on 08000 23 22 33 or text CLAIM to 61993 and someone will call you back

Irwin Mitchell








Irwin Mitchell Scotland Glasgow Irwin Mitchell Consulting Office† Irwin Mitchell Abogados


Leicester Málaga


www.irwinmitchell.com Irwin Mitchell LLP is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Its associated firm Irwin Mitchell Scotland LLP is a separate Scottish legal practice which is regulated by the Law Society of Scotland.


A personal service tailored to your needs


udkins specialise in severe injury claims resulting in upper or lower limb amputation. Mr Judkins the personal injury litigation partner has personal experience of this form of trauma having suffered a lower limb amputation following a road traffic accident over 30 years ago. The firm is therefore familiar with and sensitive to the needs and concerns of a client who has suffered such a catastrophic event. The good news is that there have been huge advances in technology in recent years which means any person suffering the loss of a limb can expect to get back a very good quality of life. How soon this can be achieved depends considerably on whether the individual is successful in their claim.

It is now well recognised that the psychological injury suffered by an amputee is often as severe as the physical injury itself;

The good news is that there have been huge advances in technology in recent years which means any person suffering the loss of a limb can expect to get back a very good quality of life


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the latter being the more obvious always receives urgent attention with the former at times being overlooked or even neglected.

award for future loss of earnings might be less. It would also encourage them to make an offer of a reasonable interim payment.

Once on the road to recovery, an amputee will be introduced into the world of “prosthetics” which is the skilled job of making artificial limbs. Up until 1990s this discipline had not changed much since the First World War but in the last decade or so its transition has been phenomenal. Whereas in times gone by a lower limb amputee could expect to wait 12 months to get an artificial leg (which looked and worked like a suit of armour) nowadays specialist prosthetic companies can fit an artificial leg within a week of referral so that the amputee has the chance to return to their normal routine.

If liability is not admitted the solicitor must then consider issuing a claim. At Judkins we would expect to have formed a view on the strengths and weaknesses of the claim at an early stage. In medical negligence claims it is generally necessary to obtain a report from a medical consultant who will review the medical notes and treatment given to assess whether it fell short of the required standards. This consultant will have an overriding duty to the Court when producing their report. The opinion given by this expert is crucial when making a decision about whether to issue a claim or not.

The speed that the above can be achieved is dependant largely on whether liability has been admitted by the negligent driver and/ or hospital and/or employer. Getting advice on your potential claim from a specialist lawyer at the first opportunity is important. This can be initiated by the family of the injured person while they are recovering. It may be possible to issue a letter of claim to the other party whilst the client is still in hospital. The Protocol(s) provide for a period of three months for the defendant driver and/or four months for the negligent hospital to respond with a letter of response which reply must set out whether they admit liability or not, and if not, why not.

If a claim is defended the legal process and the time it takes to get the case to trial can be enormously frustrating and stressful for the client. Whilst inevitably there will be legitimate defences to a claim, often it is a tactic of defendant insurers and their appointed solicitors to do everything they can to delay things. This may include seeking extensions to protocol timetables and court directions which in the interest of justice the Courts (particularly in medical negligence cases) frequently grant. Similarly, a defendant will often file a defence even if they intend to settle as a pre-negotiating tactic. Judkins will help you through this difficult time and wherever possible minimise the time delays to ensure your claim is finalised to your satisfaction at the very earliest opportunity.

If liability is admitted it should be possible to enter into negotiations with the defendant insurer for an interim payment and this money can be used to instruct a prosthetic company to assess what type of prosthesis is best suited to the individual and then start work on making one, once the physical injuries have healed. The cost of a state of the art artificial leg could be £40,000.00 or more exclusive of fitting costs. However, this could have considerable financial savings in the long term as, for example, the individual may be able to get back to work much sooner. This may appeal to the defendant insurance company as it would mean that the special damages

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If you have suffered a severe injury then contact Judkins now for a without obligation discussion. We will be happy to travel to meet with you if this assists.

Please Call - 01992 500456 Email paul.judkins@judkins-solicitors.co.uk

Visit our website at www.judkins-solicitors.co.uk


EMPOWER: MOBILITY Electric Mobility offers local support to those who value guidance in selecting and assessing the correct mobility product through first class service from a company they can trust


ascal Rehab was formed as a Specialist Division within Electric Mobility to provide people who require the support of mobility and healthcare products, with a comprehensive range of manual wheelchairs, powerchairs and other specialist products, which have all been designed to make life easier and improve the quality of mobility for people that face challenges during daily life. The company employs five Area Managers who have over 65 years of experience between them in the Healthcare industry to work alongside the highly trained Mobility & Rehab Retailers across the country. Electric Mobility is proud to introduce the Samm Mid Wheel Drive powerchair from You-Q - this functional powerchair with the centre of gravity located directly beneath you, means it can turn on its own axis. This ensures an ultra-small turning circle for excellent manoeuvrability around the home. Offering an intuitive drive, the Samm is an ideal solution for those individuals who may have had difficulty driving an electric wheelchair

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using Gyro controls, switches or other speciality controls. With Samm, driving through doorways, into lifts and around small places will become easier due to the narrow width of the powerchair. Benefitting from a low seat height of 40cm (15.75“) will assist immensely with transference during daily activities, getting under work and home surfaces or transportation within vehicles. The Samm indoor / outdoor powerchair has an extensive range of seating and powered options, including seat lift, tilt in space and power leg rests that can be tailored to suit a wide range of conditions, ensuring the assessment / prescription meets your lifestyle requirements and is the best solution for you. As the newest edition to the You-Q range, it joins the Rascal Rehab family helping to provide a range of powerchairs suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. See the photographs of Samm in the advert opposite the contents page. Remember - IT’S ALL ABOUT YOU!

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The premier Rehab products represent just a selection of the range. Alex – Unprecedented driving comfort with unique VIA suspension for intensive outdoor use Luca – Extremely compact and ideal for indoor and outdoor use, includes sports range option for Football and Hockey XP – No-nonsense, easy to use with a smooth ride and excellent manoeuvrability Samm - Ultra-small turning circle for excellent manoeuvrability around the home or work If you would like more information on the Rascal Rehab range or for general advice on selecting the product that would best suit you, please contact -

0800 252 614 sales@electricmobility.co.uk


Accident Prevention in Cold & Winter Weather >> Written by Angela Gifford - Managing Director, Able Community Care

Each year hospital Accident and Emergency Units are put under pressure as people of all ages become accident victims during the winter season. Every one of us can take more care to try to ensure we are not killed or injured in the next few months.


he Department for Transport advises that in 2011, 32 people died and 3,912 people were injured when there was snow or ice on the road. All drivers need to consciously adjust their driving according to the wintry conditions. Always make sure that you have clear vision through your vehicle windows, your lights are clean and unimpaired and any snow on your roof you have removed before you start off on your journey. On the road, leave extra space between yourself and the vehicle in front and try not to brake suddenly. In fog, use dipped headlights and if the road is wet it can take you and other drivers longer to stop, so make sure you leave space between you and other vehicles. If you drive through water, choose a low gear and always check your brakes after leaving the water. In windy conditions bear in mind that strong wings can affect high sided vehicles, often blowing them over. Leave safe spaces between these vehicles and yours.

In 2011/12 over 4,000 people were admitted to hospital because they fell over on snow or ice. To try and keep safer when walking, wear footwear with a good grip sole, walk slowly and watch where you are placing your feet. Your centre of gravity affects your balance and this is more evident on winter pavements and paths. Do not walk with your hands in your pocket or carry a heavy shopping bag in one hand, spread the load between two bags using both hands to help keep balanced. Think about wearing bulky clothes so that if you do fall, your body has a greater barrier between you and the hard surface. When crossing a road, bear in mind that in icy conditions vehicles cannot stop as quickly as they can in normal conditions, so take care and cross on a clear road and remember that stopping vehicles may skid in your direction if they have to brake suddenly. At home, keep paths, steps

and driveways clear with salt or sand. Ordinary table or dishwasher salt can be used so stock up with extra before you need it. In the winter naturally we heat our homes and each year people die through carbon monoxide poisoning. If you have a gas fire or boiler or a wood burner, install a carbon monoxide detector. If your detector is old, replace it. The festive season brings other opportunities for accidents. Old Christmas tree lights can catch fire, so be safe and purchase new lights which nowadays have higher safety standards and when putting the lights on the tree make sure the cables are not a cause for someone to trip over. Keep decorations away from candles and other heat sources such as lights. Always extinguish candles and turn off lights before going out or to bed. Be aware and keep safe. Angela Gifford, MD. Able Community Care Ltd www.uk-care.com


Always make sure that you have clear vision through your vehicle windows, your lights are clean and unimpaired and any snow on your roof you have removed before you start off on your journey


www.empowermagazine.org.uk - Page 35


43 Alexandra Road, Farnborough, Hampshire, GU14 6BS Tel: 01252 547939


PC was established in 1989 by Paralympic Gold medallist wheelchair tennis player, Peter Norfolk OBE. Peter and wife Linda, an ex- Physio, headed up by an experienced, enthusiastic and knowledgeable team.

Daily Sports Cycling www.epc-wheelchairs.co.uk For all your mobility needs

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Equipment for the Physically Challenged...

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We pride ourselves on sourcing good quality products at reasonable prices, and aim to supply our customers with friendly, expert advice and excellent service. We are independent dealers and so can offer a wide range of products from a variety of manufacturers. We will give you impartial advice and can often tell you how it has been to use products, as several of our team are wheelchair users, or related to someone who is.

Our range goes from basic wheelchairs to high performance custom made products, power chairs, sports chairs, hand bikes (recreational to racing), a huge range of accessories and parts, and products for easier living in the home. Our in house technical team is able to carry our servicing and repairs, and also advises and sources for parts. Phone us for an appointment or look at our website for our wide range of products. www.epc-wheelchairs.co.uk You can also sign up to our mailing list for news and info on special offers.


Mountain Trike: The active chair for active people


he Mountain Trike is an all-terrain self-propelled wheelchair which has been designed using a masterful blend of unique innovation and drive system with high specification mountain bike technology. It provides wheelchair users with far greater freedom and independence than ever before to travel off the beaten track - whether that’s a trip to the local park, tackling curbs or an adventure to woodland trails. No other manual wheelchair on the market provides comparable high level of manoeuvrability and uneven surface performance, practicality and comfort. Despite deep mud and wet ground the unique drive and steering system means your hands stay clean and dry.

The Mountain Trike is purposely designed to meet the needs of paraplegics and amputees who are otherwise fit and healthy and who are currently severely limited as to where they can go with current manual wheelchairs. Other manual wheelchairs have limited off-road capabilities and are ill suited to rough terrain and many urban situations. Weighing just 20kg, the Mountain Trike is really light, but is robust enough to tackle dense woodland and mountain bike tracks. Much of this is down to the three independent shock absorbers, one for each of the drive wheels and one on the small wheel at the back, these keep the Mountain Trike firmly rooted. The back wheel is where the steering takes place, which provides excellent

control at high and low speeds. The revolutionary lever drive system provides the mechanical advantage to ride up steep hills and maximise the rider’s strength whilst the whole time keeping their hands nice and clean! All weather mountain bike disc brakes provide excellent stopping power and control and can be mounted on either the left or right depending on the rider’s preference. It can easily be folded to assist loading into family hatchbacks and estate cars. The Mountain Trike Company currently distributes and sells direct to customers from their UK business. All Trikes are custom built and come with a 3 year warranty, choice of frame colour, adjustable frame, footrest and seat. Customers range from MS sufferers to triple amputees, the Trike is used by both male and females, and due to the arm length required to reach the drive levers the company recommends riders are over the age of 12 years old. Inventor and Managing Director, Tim Morgan offers a very personal service the quality of his product and customer care is at the forefront of the business. Selling direct to customers ensures that each Mountain Trike is right for the individual needs of the customer. Jo from Chichester, who after being involved in a RTA crush was left with severe nerve damage

and immobility, couldn’t be without her Mountain Trike. Previously she led a very active life with her family and the Mountain Trike allows her to go places she otherwise wouldn’t. Jo, surfers from nerve pain and the exceptional suspension softens the impact of any terrain. The British Army Rehab Centre in Headley Court has a fleet of Trikes which are used by the injured soldiers to assist and help them with their rehabilitation and fitness. It is simple to learn to ride a Trike; however, the company does advice of a learning curve and it can take some practise to perfect. Once a rider masters the manoeuvrability of the Trike, a whole new world of outdoor activities is waiting to be explored that conventional wheelchairs just can’t offer. The Mountain Trike purchase price is £3995 and an accessory range has also been developed and can be purchased at an additional cost. There is also an option for short-term hire schemes for UK customers – please see www. mountaintrike.com for details. To see a video demonstration of Mountain Trike please visit: http://bit.ly/W9qKKN

Web: www.mountaintrike.com Email: info@mountaintrike.co.uk T: +44 (0)1270 842616 Twitter: @mountaintrike Facebook: facebook/mountaintrike

www.empowermagazine.org.uk - Page 37


Foot / Ankle System Kinterra’s articulating ankle delivers: • Increased ground contact and a more symmetrical gait • Improved stability and safety, especially on slopes and varied terrain • Reduced socket pressures for healthier residual limbs • Enhanced comfort while sitting and squatting • User confidence and satisfaction



Kinterra Opens Doors to a New Degree of Freedom Extraordinarily Normal. Kinterra™ adapts to slopes and uneven terrain without compromising performance on level ground.

Tel: +44 (0) 870 240 4133 Email: salesdesk@rslsteeper.com Web: www.rslsteeper.com


A day in the life of a Prosthetist >> Written by - Abdo Sleiman Haidar (ConsultantProsthetist/Orthotist Prosthetist/Orthotist&&Director DirectoratatThe London Prosthetic Centre) (Consultant London Prosthetic Centre)

The London Prosthetic Centre was founded five-years-ago by Mr Abdo Haidar. We speak to Abdo about how being born in a war-zone informed the course of his life.


bdo Sleiman Haidar grew up witnessing the daily horrors of the Lebanese civil war. He also observed the human will to survive that the conflict brought with it. It is these things that helped shape his life. Chance also played a part in Abdo’s story. At the age of twenty Abdo enrolled in the US sponsored three-year prosthetic programme in Beirut that taught the art of making prosthetic limbs. He says he did not have a calling to train in this way, but he was driven by a need to succeed at something that presented him with daily challenges. Highly competitive, playing and coaching basketball at a national level in Lebanon, he found he had another gift once his training got under way. He says: “I feel as though I just fell into what I do. It wasn’t my ambition, but I was born in the civil war and I had seen a lot of amputees and a lot of tragedies so I think maybe it had always been at the back of my mind to help people.” He graduated from the American University of Beirut in 1994 and wanting to develop himself, he travelled to the UK where, after further training in Belfast and Wolverhampton, he worked as the Prosthetic Lead at Queen Mary’s Hospital, Roehampton, in London, for eleven-years.

However, he became frustrated by his inability to offer patients the care and attention they deserved because of the lack of NHS resources. He says: “I felt frustrated working within the NHS. I wanted to give people the best quality care and unfortunately I could not do that within the NHS’s financial and time constraints. When a private company offered me the opportunity to found a private clinic I couldn’t turn it down.” In 2008 Abdo opened The London Prosthetic Centre, which is funded by RSLSteeper. He says: “It is important to me to always provide people with a stable, comfortable and functional prosthesis that would enhance their lives and take away their disability and now I am able to do that.” He says he spends a lot of time getting to know his patients and their needs, as this is the first step to giving them their lives back. He explains: “At the beginning, I spend about two hours with each patient. Understanding exactly what they want and what their expectations are in life. This helps me to get things right.” Abdo says he can see himself in his patients. He likens the spirit of amputees, driven to make the most of life, to that of someone who has witnessed the atrocities of war. He explains:

“Growing up through war makes you a positive person. It makes me understand some of the ways that amputees feel. I do appreciate life and it pushes me to achieve more. I see many of my patients are like this. They are extremely motivated people; they want to change their lives for the better. They don’t want to give up.” Abdo finds inspiration in most of his patients. Perhaps, his most notable patient is Charity and Animal Rights Campaigner Heather Mills. He recently built her the world’s first ‘slalom leg’, which she intends to use when she competes for the team GB ski team at the next Paralympic Games in 2014. He also sites a young woman whom he first met when she was 19. She had lost both her legs and two fingers after contracting Still’s Disease. Abdo says: “When she came to see me she weighed 40kg and she couldn’t stand up. That was about five years ago, and now she has just finished her medical degree and she walks into the clinic. We are not just making limbs for people; we are helping them to rebuild so many things.” Around 50 per cent of the clinic’s clients come from overseas, mostly from the Middle East and Africa. Abdo speaks both Arabic and French and attaches

great importance in having an appreciation of the cultural mores of the societies his patients come from. He says: “There is still a strong stigma associated with disability for many of my patients from overseas and they tend to become alienated. I work with them to make sure that we can overcome or reduce this stigma. We make sure that we make the prosthesis look as natural as possible and that it operates as well as possible, so that people cannot detect that they have a disability.” He says that trust is the cornerstone of the relationship he builds with his patients: “When I begin working with a patient it is the start of a long and important relationship, because the limbs we make will have to be maintained throughout a lifetime. Patients need to trust me fully so I can help them to change their lives. Many of my patients are extremely successful people, who don’t want to quit on life. It would be easy to quit but they are survivors and I like to help them, it gives me a lot of satisfaction.” For further information visit: www.thelondonprosthetics.com

T: 020 8789 6565 E: enquiries@thelondonprosthetics.com

www.empowermagazine.org.uk - Page 39


Bionic hand is a ‘lifeline’ for Masai Warrior


Masai Warrior whose plans to be an airline pilot were crushed in a horrific bus crash, has had a ‘miraculous’ bionic limb fitted in London to replace the hand and arm he lost just eight months ago. After a day at work on January 7th, Charles Soitabao Kango caught his regular bus from Nairobi back to his village home 40 minutes away. This time the journey wasn’t completed, as Charles explains: “As we were going uphill, the bus began to wobble on the road before turning over. My arm was trapped between the tarmac and the bus and I was dragged along, screaming. The bone in my arm was ground down to nothing between my elbow and wrist, whilst my hand was severely crushed.” Charles was then rushed to hospital where he was advised that an amputation was the best course of action. Just 15 training hours from receiving his commercial pilot’s licence, Charles knew his life had taken a devastating blow but he was determined to bounce back. “I remember looking down and realising that my life had changed but friends told me about the bebionic hand and I began looking on the internet as soon as I could. That’s when I was directed to the London Prosthetic Centre.” Now, using the most advanced myo-electric bebionic3 hand with its ‘‘robot-like” appearance,

Charles can complete all sorts of tasks: “Having a bebionic hand is a real lifeline. In the last two weeks I have done lots of training to get the full benefit of the technology. Already, I can do things I didn’t think would be possible again, like picking things up, shaking hands, dragging a trolley, and using a mouse. “I am working closely with the specialists here and there is much more I can achieve. There is even a chance that I can resume my training and fly again but I’m keeping my options open.” Charles, who describes himself as ‘40% Masai Warrior,’ will soon be returning home to his friends and family in a village where he is already known as “The Terminator”. From there, he wants to play his part in helping others in similar circumstances: “Being an amputee can be tough and I want to show love and support to anyone who is going through what I have gone through.” Abdo Haidar, Consultant Prosthetist at The London Prosthetic Centre in Kingston upon Thames, said: “This prosthesis offers the perfect balance between advanced technology and aesthetics, and Charles has taken to it incredibly well, showing the control and manoeuvrability to tackle real-

life, everyday situations. He is an incredible person with so much warmth and drive. It’s been a pleasure working with him, and we look forward to continuing our relationship with him over the coming years.” The new bebionic3 hand features a lifelike appearance and naturally compliant grip patterns which can be wirelessly programmed and tailored to suit each individual user’s requirements, alongside customisable grip speed, patterns and strength. The London Prosthetic Centre is the only facility in London to provide cuttingedge prosthetic care within a private facility equipped with a modern workshop and silicone facilities. It is a division of RSL Steeper, which was founded in 1921, and is one of the largest suppliers of prosthetic, orthotic and assistive care in the world. For further information visit: www.thelondonprosthetics.com Address: Unit 20, Kingsmill Business Park, Chapel Mill Road, Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey KT1 3GZ Tel:

020 8789 6565


Being an amputee can be tough and I want to show love and support to anyone who is going through what I have gone through

www.empowermagazine.org.uk - Page 41

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Daily Living: The Emotional Impact of Design >> Written by - Katherine Pyne, designed2enable

Accidents, trauma and the on-set of old age can be debilitating and life changing. Many things become a compromise; the clothes you can wear, the way you design your home and the impression you make as you enter a room. These all have a profound impact on how you feel about yourself and subsequently how you are perceived by others.


s a result of an accident I am a wheelchair user, and I have personal experience of a long stay in a rehabilitation unit. When I found myself surrounded by medical, grey, ugly assistive aids it had a profound effect on my state of mind. I was embarrassed when family and friends came to visit me in hospital, feeling that I was now associated with this very negative visual impression of disability which I was also having to adjust to. Coming home after my rehabilitation, I have shied away from having these ugly aids in my home. A close friend who was an architect very kindly adapted our home and made everything as ‘normal’ as possible for me, blending my needs seamlessly into the design of the house in a considered way which has helped me re-establish my identity. I have always wished that the same consideration could be given to the design of assistive aids. I know that if I have something that assists me in my daily living and I enjoy looking at, I will use it, and it will enhance my life. If I have something that is designed with no thought for aesthetics, or that has a medical look I associate with disability,

I will not use it unless I have to and it will be hidden away in a drawer or cupboard if someone is coming to the house. From my own experience, I know how important it is that manufacturers of assistive aids and devices do more than supply purely functional products. I’m one of the late baby boomers and I know my generation is highly design conscious. As we enter our 50’s and 60’s we want what everyone else has – a choice of good looking, well designed products that enhance our lives. There’s no reason why an assistive product should not have the same design values as a fashionable pair of shoes. I’m relieved to say that, in the last few years, I’ve noticed a growing awareness of this idea. I’m so pleased for myself and for other assistive aid users that manufacturers are starting to consider the aesthetic look and feel of their products and are recognising that the disabled and elderly deserve, and are demanding, a choice. Retirement and nursing homes are recognising the need to offer residents a more stylish, life enhancing environment compared to that traditionally available – a wise move given the

forecasted growth of the mature population. German researchers found that being able to see the colour of green boosts creativity and motivation - perhaps this is why hospitals with large windows with landscape views can help speed recovery. For me this is evidence that we need to be nurtured by things that are aesthetically pleasing and give us joy - they make us feel better and help us to heal. I’m hoping that the design revolution for assistive products is just beginning, and that product designers and manufacturers are starting to understand that disabled people do not need or want to be marginalised and treated as second class, with their specialised aids focussing solely on function with no thought for form. The pleasure I get from wearing my beautiful leather wheelchair gloves, or using a stylish mobility aid, is just the same as an able bodied person gets from a new pair of shoes. I’m doing everything I can to support those products, and I hope this will encourage recognition that equality for the disabled is a basic human right.

From my own experience, I know how important it is that manufacturers of assistive aids and devices do more than supply purely functional products

www.empowermagazine.org.uk - Page 43


Impey Showers

re-engineers the shower seat


etroom specialist Impey Showers has revealed a revolutionary new shower seat in association with a leading UK occupational therapist.

When folded, the SlimFold shower seat has a profile of 111mm and the shower bench has a profile of 55mm. The thin profile enables the shower door to fold fully inwards without colliding with the seat.

The company had been inundated by requests from customers of all ages and abilities for a accessible yet stylish shower seat.

The wetroom experts teamed up with leading UK occupational therapist and interior designer, Elaine Hollerhead, to design and produce the SlimFold. Elaine had been troubled about the lack of a modern, inclusively designed shower seat available on the market for a number of years.

Shower seats are an essential bathroom item for those with mobility issues. They enable a person to enjoy showering as independently as possible but traditional shower seats are very clinical in appearance, bulky, create trip hazards, act as dirt traps and can damage floors. Impey’s SlimFold shower seat is stylish, safe and functional and bears weight of up to 47 stone.

Elaine said: ‘In my capacity as an occupational therapist, I have been concerned with of aesthetics, functionality and safety of most products available to the disabled and grey markets for many years, especially in relation to shower seats.

‘I was delighted to be invited to develop the SlimFold with Impey Showers and finally create a product that elderly or disabled people will actually want to use.’ Neil Whitehead, Spokesperson at Impey Showers, said: “We firmly believed that existing shower seat design needed to be evolved and improved to provide the healthcare market with an exciting, aspirational and safe product.

The new SlimFold shower seat and bench is available in 10 colours has been engineered to ensure maximum strength, support and durability. The products include a double curvature wall mount, cross bracing support and triangular structure which can support a weight of up to 300kg (47 stone).

Multi-purpose – grips, holds & opens Tried and trusted since 1966 Long-lasting – easy to clean IN






Award winning ®

Simple to use Non-toxic and latex free


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Making life easier

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The Impey SlimFold shower seat is the latest in Impey’s range of innovative wetroom products that encourage independent living.

“This product is outstanding and has been designed with anyone in mind due to its look and feel. We’ve had extremely positive feedback from end users, retailers and healthcare professionals and we are positive that the SlimFold will change the shower seat market.”

An essential daily living aid

Built-in antimicrobial silver

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The Starlock Cushion -

A market leading aircell cushion. The Starlock cushion was developed in the USA by two pioneers in the field of pressure management. They had a key role in the development of a market leading air cell cushion and recognised it could be improved. The greatest testament to the success of the Starlock is the impact on lives of the people who use it.

Case Study: James

Case Study: Richard

The Starlock was created, the only cushion available that puts the user in control of their changing postural needs without compromising pressure management

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ichard is an IT consultant. For the last 12 years, since an accident at work, he has become a full time wheelchair user. Due to the nature of his injuries, he has suffered recurring problems with pressure damage. During each day Richard would change his cushion to accommodate the degree of postural support he needed, no one product was adaptive or effective to meet his changing needs. Transfers were tiring and time consuming,

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having to swap cushions up to 10 times in a 12 hour period. Six months ago Richard started his trial with the Starlock through the local wheelchair service. The cushion has transformed his life in one simple step. He customises his seating without the need to use different cushions. Easy to modify, changing postural support without compromise inpressure management and above all, ensure day long comfort.


ames served in the Royal Marine Core in Afghanistan. Whilst on active duty, he lost both his legs after stepping on an IED (Improvised Explosive Device). After a period of rehabilitation, he was determined to continue playing tennis but found it difficult to find an appropriate cushion that provided stability and postural support. James¹ (& his Starlock) now training in earnest, hoping to secure a place to represent the British team at the Brazil Para-Olympics.

nd a t r o f m o c Day long ntro l o c n a c OU support Y

Individualised postural support Uncompromised pressure management Unique, guaranteed stability Patented Starlock technology enables you to create a personalised seating surface. Now available in an even greater range of sizes and no weight limit!

Call us now on: 01531 635678 email: sales@HelpingHand.co.uk www.Lowzone.co.uk


My Life, My Choice >> Written by - Mike Penning MP, Minister of State for Disabled People

Congratulations are in order for My Life My Choice following the announcement that the charity has won the Prime Minister’s Big Society Award.


his achievement is thoroughly deserved by the organisation in Oxfordshire, which is run by people with learning difficulties, for people with learning difficulties. It is an excellent example of a charity whose core principle is to equip its members with the expertise and confidence that will help them lead their lives to the full. At the heart of My Life My Choice lies the belief that its members should be encouraged to speak up to ensure that their views are taken seriously by those who work in the services they use, as well as the public at large. The structure of the charity, from the board of trustees to the people at the sharp end who are involved in the day-to-day running of the organisation, all have learning difficulties themselves. They use a range of projects to engage with service providers, keep their members fully up to speed on the issues that affect them, and make sure members get the help they need to access the type of opportunities other people take for granted. For example: Sting Radio airs bi-weekly and acts as a useful platform for the DJs to hold politicians, councillors and other

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decision makers to account. The show also features music and arts by people with learning difficulties. In another initiative, its experts – who are the members hold regular meetings and consultations with service providers and decision makers, to raise issues affecting them with the aim of improving the quality of services they receive. The charity recently received a share of £3m grant funding through the DWP’s Disabled People’s User Led Organisation programme to help it develop Sting Radio. And their recent success in the Big Society Awards shows that it has been money well spent. It also offers further proof of the Prime Minister’s determination to support and recognise the valuable work of organisations such as this. The can-do attitude of the people who have worked hard to make My Life My Choice the success it has become is commendable and is exactly the sort of culture that this Government is trying to create – one in which people are given the support they need to help themselves. Before I became Minister of State for Disabled People, I asked the Prime Minister for the job.

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Having watched my grandfather care for my grandmother for 30 years after she suffered a stroke, and seen colleagues in the fire service injured in the line of duty, this is a subject I have first hand experience of. I have also lived with dyslexia all my life, and understand how disabilities can become a barrier to success. But if this has taught me anything, it is the importance of focusing on what you can do in life, not only what you can’t. And this is a philosophy that I know is close to the heart of Falklands War veteran Simon Weston. Simon became a household name after he suffered horrific burns when the vessel he was on – the Sir Galahad – was destroyed in 1982. Despite suffering 46 per cent burns, the former Welsh Guardsman considers himself one of the lucky ones because he survived the terrifying inferno. Now a successful businessman, Simon is backing the Disability Confident campaign that we launched last month to break down the barriers to finding employment that many disabled people face. Outlining his reasons for

supporting the campaign, Simon said: “What I want employers to take away from this….is that disabled people can be some of your best employees. “We’re some of the most determined workers, who go the extra mile to secure results. “To overlook the skills and talents of people because they have a physical or mental disability could ultimately cost you money.” Over the coming months we will be inviting employers to a series of roadshows across the country, which have been designed to encourage them to become more confident about hiring people with disabilities. Although the employment rate for disabled people has increased gradually over the years, we know that all too often the talents of disabled people in the workforce are left untapped. Despite making steps in the right direction, there are still too many disabled people currently not in work in this country – who would like to be - and that is something we are determined to address. One in five of us have a disability. Doing more to employ disabled people will be mutually beneficial for those who are ready and eager to work as well as businesses, who can tap into the estimated £80bn purple pound.


LimbPower - The British Ambulant Disabled Sports and Arts Foundation >> Written by Kiera Roche - Limb Power (Registered charity no: 1132829)

We are a charity dedicated to supporting you, amputees, people with congenital limb absence, and limb difference through your rehabilitation process and in your quest to improve your health, increase your fitness and re-engage with life through the medium of sport, exercise and lifestyle activities


imbPower believe that nutrition; exercise and physical activity enhance the rehabilitation process, having a positive and sustainable impact on amputees of all ages, all levels of amputation and of all abilities. We focus on helping and supporting you in the quest to improve your life through engaging in physical activity. We focus on your social, psychological and physical rehabilitation as we believe that these three things are the cornerstones to helping you rebuild your life and get back to how you felt pre-amputation. We have an excellent team of ambassadors, mentors and volunteers all willing to help you find the perfect sport or exercise for your needs. We have recently appointed a Sports and Fitness Officer to help build relationships with the National Governing Bodies of Sport (NGBs) so that we can bring you more opportunities. We work with the English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS), Sport England, the National Governing Bodies of Sport (NGBs), National Disability Sports Organisations (NDSOs) and other charities to offer something for everyone; from grass roots participation to elite athletes. We run a series of events and activities throughout the

year, as well as excellent online community groups on Facebook and Yahoo groups. Our newest event, ‘The Advanced Rehabilitation Workshop’ on Thursday 27 March 2014 at Roehampton University is designed for new amputees wanting to take their rehabilitation a step further, learning how to master their artificial limb, their bodies and their environment. “This event is designed to teach prosthetic users how to get the most out of their artificial limb and their bodies to take their rehabilitation to the next level. We have designed this programme in conjunction with Roehampton University’s Sports Department and through years of experience and research. This event is a must for any amputee wanting to improve their basic skills and master their environment”. Kiera Roche, LimbPower Chairman and founder of the Advanced Rehab Workshop. The Advanced Rehabilitation workshop is the first step to engaging with sport. We follow this event with the LimbPower Games on 17 and 18 May 2014 at Stoke Mandeville Stadium for Adults and the Primary and Junior Games on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 October 2014, for children aged

between 5-18. The children are divided into age appropriate groups for the duration of this event and each group is appointed an adult Mentor, who has taken part in the adult games to guide them through the event and offer support and advice. These events are about testing the water and working out not only which sport best suits your ability, but also suits your lifestyle and your interests. These events are about engaging with other amputees, sharing advice and information, as well as trying the main Paralympic sports in a safe and conducive environment among your peers. These events change people’s lives! Although these events are focused on introducing amputees to sport, we have been incredibly successful in talent identifying future national and Paralympic athletes, something we are very proud of. We saw five of our previous participants take part in the London 2012 Paralympics. Two years ago we joined forces with UK Athletics and British Athletics to create the ‘Learn to Run Clinic’, run in parallel to their Talent Identification programme. We run the grass roots programme teaching amputees of all ages and all abilities the basic techniques for running on prosthesis. This is both a theory and practical workshop and had

proved incredibly successful. If you want to be able to run this event is a must! If you want to know more about our work please contact us: Website: www.limbpower.com Sports Officer: gemma@limbpower.com Events: kiera@limbpower.com Tel: 07502276858 Diary of Events for 2014: Learn to Run clinics; January 26th In Chelmsford; February 9th in Loughborough; February 16th in Sheffield; March 16th in Bath; March 22nd in Manchester and March 23rd in London (Contact Kiera Roche for further details) March 27th - Advanced Rehabilitation, Clinic Roehampton; May 17th - 18th - LimbPower Games, Stoke Mandeville Stadium; October 4th - 5th, Primary & Junior Games (Contact Gemma Trotter for further details) August 21st - Manic Marafun, Stoke Mandeville Stadium; September 26th - London to Amsterdam bike ride November 15th - The Great Gatsby Ball (Contact Kiera Roche for further details)

www.empowermagazine.org.uk - Page 49


Friendship, fresh air and exercise, golf has it all


here’s no better sport for bringing people together and, with its winning combination of exercise, sporting skill and social interaction, golf is the perfect tonic for good health and happiness.

The combination of fresh air, green space and social interaction can keep you calm and boost wellbeing. As well as easing existing anxiety a study from the University of Maryland found it may also help you deal better with any future stress you encounter.

Golf is a great game whatever your age, background or ability. “Golf is about as adaptable a sport as you can get,” said Bob Buck, Executive Director of the Eastern Amputee Golf Association. “Just about anyone, regardless of ability level, can grab a set of golf clubs, head outside, and in no time be hitting golf balls where no one will ever find them again.”

And, with plenty of time for conversation, golf is the perfect way to make new friends, especially if you have recently moved into a new area or have had a life style change. Wherever there’s a golf course, a host of rewarding new friendships awaits you. Friendships that are likely to flourish, thanks to the convivial atmosphere of the game itself and the ready-made social life at the clubhouse.

As well as having fun in the fresh air, playing golf also brings some impressive health and wellbeing benefits that can help you look and feel at your best. “Golf really does tick all the boxes for things you need for optimal wellbeing,” says psychologist and coach Miriam Akhtar from positivepsychologytraining.co.uk. “It offers some important feel-good factors, such as an active social life and regular physical activity of the best kind – what we call ‘green exercise’ outside in nature.”

Like getintogolf @getintogolf

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It’s never been easier to get started. The Get into golf programme is run by the England Golf Partnership through its network of County Golf Partnerships and offers low cost taster sessions and beginner courses across the country throughout the year. You’ll receive a basic introduction to golf from PGA professionals, together with information about club membership and follow-on coaching opportunities. Equipment will be provided so all you

have to do is turn up on the day in comfortable clothing. Get into golf is a national campaign to inspire adults to take up golf. It is part of the plan to make England the world’s leading golf nation by 2020, which is supported by Sport England National Lottery funding.

Golf really does tick all the boxes for things you need for optimal wellbeing

Miriam Akhtar Psychologist & Coach Positive Psychology Training

To find an activity near you go to getintogolf.org/map or call 0800 118 2766 to find out more

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The Wheelchair Dance Sport Association (WDSA) is the national charity and governing body for wheelchair dance sport and recreational wheelchair dancing within the UK


e are here to promote and develop wheelchair dancing as a sport and leisure activity across the country as well as making dancing, fun and exciting for all so that people who do wheelchair dance and dance sport are proud to say “I can do that!” For example our trainers had attended a physiotherapy department as an alternative form of Physio for the regular people that attended. One of the participants was called Sam who was 24 and was covered in tattoos and body piercings, and who had been brought along by the physiotherapist who told him that he had to come along. Sam sat on the side of the gymnasium and grudgingly agreed to take part in the workshop, but was having difficulty moving the wheelchair due to the prosthetic leg he was wearing, so the trainer suggested he either tried it standing up or took the leg off. Sam decided to stand and although he was not steady on his feet and he was not sure that he

could dance with his prosthetic leg let alone with a wheelchair user, but once we had taken him around the room a couple of times with different dances and some music that he could relate to, he carried on and danced for the rest of the day. He even took off his leg when he was tired and danced using a wheelchair, so he could still take part. When the physiotherapist returned her jaw nearly dropped to the floor at seeing Sam dancing. She came over to the trainers once the workshop had finished telling us that she had not expected him to stay for longer than 10 minutes as Sam said that “dancing is a girl’s thing and not that hard work”. Sam had stayed for 4 hours, and decided that he liked the sport and agreed it was not a thing for just girls, and that he was more active now doing wheelchair dance than he was before.

If you want to be as active as Sam contact the WDSA (UK)

Once we had taken him around the room a couple of times with different dances and some music that he could relate to, he carried on and danced for the rest of the day

Tel: 0300 111 30 45 Email: info@wdsauk.co.uk Website: www.wdsauk.co.uk See us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/wdsauk Twitter: @wdsauk

www.empowermagazine.org.uk - Page 51


Get the best out of living

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irector and Prosthetist, Ian Jones brings 18 years experience to Limb Solutions including six years spent as clinical lead in complex trauma prosthetics service for the UK military. Extensive knowledge of the challenges facing ex-service personnel, Ian worked with Derek Derenalagi to enable him to be the first serviceman to be fitted with Geniums and helped him to a well earned place within the 2012 Paralympian team. “Since losing in my legs in Afghanistan in 2007 Ian Jones has been my prosthetist ever since, he fitted my C-Legs and my Genium knees to wear at the Paralymics. To be honest the sockets and knees where fantastic because I had no problems. I can recommend

that Ian Jones is one of the best prosthetists in the country” Derek Derenalagi Focusing on a comfortable socket at the outset Limb Solutions will work with you to explore and consider the correct options to provide the right product for you. Delivering a personal and quality service Limb Solutions is a small family business where their aim is to keep costs down. As an independent provider Limb Solutions has no restrictions when sourcing the most clinically appropriate components world-wide. For more information get in touch: 01420 563247 enquiries@limbsolutions.co.uk

As part of an Active Healthy Living Grant from the Coca-Cola Foundation led by Prof Vicky Tolfrey, the Peter Harrison Centre for Disability Sport (PHC) have developed a number of disability-specific guides to help people understand how to lead a healthy, active lifestyle. One of the guides is written specifically for adults with an amputation. The guide has all the information you need in one place and it allows you to progress at your own pace. It is separated into 2 sections depending on your current activity level: Fit for Life – Guides you through the basics of exercise and nutrition, helping you to lead a healthy, well-balanced and active lifestyle. Topics include exercise guidelines, stump care and weight management. Fit for Sport - If you play sport or choose to take one up, this section can help you understand how to adjust your training and nutrition, and how to use some psychological skills to improve your performance. Topics include monitoring training load, enhancing endurance, supplements, goal setting and relaxation techniques. No matter what level you are currently at, or even if you are just getting started, this guide can help you to achieve your own personal goals. It may even inspire you to try something new! “Not everybody wants to be an athlete and everyone has different goals: yours may be to join a sports club, learn how to run using your new prosthesis, or simply to get fit and healthy but whatever they are, don’t let anything get in your way. I am a strong believer in living life without limits.” Richard Whitehead (Ambassador)

DOWNLOAD YOUR OWN GUIDE TODAY AT: www.lboro.ac.uk/phc-toolkit

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Let’s Get PhysicALL! Inclusive Fitness >> Written by Jules Twells - Inclusive Fitness Initiative (IFI)

The Inclusive Fitness Initiative (IFI) has over the last 10 years grown to have a national coverage of over 400 accredited gym facilities. The IFI leads the way in providing accessible and welcoming environments to ensure that disabled people can participate in physical activity in gyms that are located conveniently for their lifestyle.


he IFI Mark is managed by the English Federation of Disability Sport (EFDS) – and is an accreditation which provides disabled people with the assurance that the service provision at these facilities are inclusive and accessible to meet their individual needs. To find your nearest IFI Mark gym visit www.efds.co.uk/ inclusive_fitness/ifi_gyms and for further information about the accessibility of each gym visit the nationwide access register – Direct Enquiries who are responsible for carrying out the IFI Mark assessments www.directenquiries.com/ The IFI has been fundamental in addressing inequality in physical activity; to reach inactive populations, raise awareness of the benefits of exercise and create demand. IFI Mark gyms realise how important accessibility and service provision is for disabled people. ‘83% of disabled people have taken their custom to competitors when faced with inaccessible or unwelcoming services’ Conversely, IFI Mark facilities have attracted a loyal customer base of disabled gym members who remain at the facility because of the excellent service provision they receive – not only that they tell their family and friends

about it! The IFI Mark supports the fitness industry to provide better and accessible service by eliminating the fears and insecurities leisure providers often have about disabled people. Inclusive Fitness is the physical activity focus of EFDS and supports the charity to meet its strategic aims of disabled people being ‘Active for Life’ through participation in sport and physical activity. We want disabled people to be able to enjoy regular sport and physical activity, wherever and in whatever sport or activity they wish to. For disabled people more than most physical activity has many benefits and is not just about ‘getting fit’ – it is a lifestyle choice to support active daily living. These include - health benefits like boosting your immune system generally, social benefits increasing self-confidence and preventing depression as well as everyday life benefits of feeling stronger to carry out those everyday activities.

to provide inclusive customer service provision to disabled customers. • Gym staff who are qualified to adapt and prescribe physical activity suitable to people with different impairments. You will receive a full induction and policies will be inclusive allowing where possible a Health Commitment Statement for you to exercise without GP consent or referral. • Accessible fitness equipment -IFI Mark gyms have accessible equipment installed that will provide a disabled and nondisabled user with a full body workout across the strength and cardiovascular range. Most of all within an IFI Mark gym you will be made to feel welcome and feel reassured that the facility is accessible to you regardless of your impairment. The holistic approach of the IFI supports the breakdown of social and psychological barriers faced by disabled people.

If you’re considering going to a gym for the first time it can be quite daunting for anyone so here’s what to expect when you visit an IFI Mark gym:-

If you already use a gym regularly why not signpost them to the IFI so that they can gain recognition for their inclusion and achieve the IFI Mark and/or be supported to improve their inclusive service provision further?

• Staff who are friendly and welcoming and aware of how

If you’re new to gyms check out one of our 400 IFI Mark

gyms – you will find not only a welcoming inclusive environment with expert instructors but more user friendly fitness equipment which has been tried, tested and adapted by fitness equipment manufacturers to support your needs. If you’re thinking about exercise, before you start you might want to look at the following Fit for Life and Sport resources which have recently been written and launched by the Peter Harrison Foundation for Disability Sport to support people with different impairments to be fitter and healthier for life to access these resources visit: www.efds.co.uk/news/2340_ phc_produces_fit_for_life_ and_sport_guides_for_

Jules Twells - Inclusive Fitness Initiative (IFI)

www.empowermagazine.org.uk - Page 53



It’s so easy to use in my wheelchair and I can easily track my performance improvement with the feedback you get on the console display

Paralympic Champion Josie Pearson trains on a SCIFIT PRO1 Upper Body Exerciser


aralympic Gold Medalist athlete Josie Pearson uses the SCIFIT PRO1 Upper Body Exerciser as an integral part of her upper body training. Josie first used the PRO1 (IFIaccredited model) at the gym in the run up to the London 2012 Paralympic Games. Following her gold medal success with a world record throw of 6.58m in the Discus F51, she decided to incorporate the PRO1 into her home workouts as well. Josie commented: “Working out on the SCIFIT PRO1 Upper Body Exercise helped me gain core strength, upper body strength and cardiovascular

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fitness and it has been a key part of my training programme. It’s so easy to use in my wheelchair and I can easily track my performance improvement with the feedback you get on the console display.” Josie continued to use the SCIFIT PRO1 Upper Body Exerciser, as a key part of her fitness training and in July 2013 she won gold at the IPC Athletics World Championships in Lyon. Josie threw a distance of 7.09m, beating her own world record and securing the gold medal. She continues to train on the PRO1 and is looking forward to the 2014 IPC Athletics European Championships as her next target for gold!

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The leader in upper body cardio exercise Why choose SCIFIT cardio equipment? Upper body exercise specialists Very low starting resistances Single/both arm workouts Wheelchair accessible models IFI accreditation from EFDS

Call 01344 300 022 Visit www.SCIFIT.uk.com for more information


Case Study: Phantom Limb Pain >> Written by - Professor Jonathan Cole, Poole Hospital and University of Bournemouth

After amputation of a limb, an amputee continues to experience sensations from it. Such sensations are also present in children born without a limb, suggesting that the perception of our limbs is ‘hard-wired’ into our brain and that sensations from the limbs become mapped onto these brain networks as we develop.


f phantom limb sensations are normal after amputation then so too, alas, is phantom limb pain. This occurs in a majority of those who lose their limbs, in many samples round 60%, though it is severe in a quarter of those. In fact, limb does not need to be lost; it also occurs in conditions in which the brain is disconnected from the body, such as peripheral nerve injuries and after spinal cord injury, when an area becomes insentient (and usually paralysed). The pain is described in various ways: burning, aching, ‘as if the hand is being crushed in a vice,’ etc. Such words, however, cannot fully encompass the experience of living with such a pain. In those with chronic pain after spinal cord injury it is frequently the pain rather than the paralysis that interferes with work and social life. One woman has said that paralysis does not stop life, but pain may. There may be many mechanisms underlying phantom limb pain. Though damage to nerve endings may be involved, and lead to stump pain, it is thought that phantom limb pain is due to alterations in nerve function in the spinal cord and brain, following changes resulting from the loss of sensory input from the amputated limb. The precise

nature of this reorganisation is unknown. Unfortunately, phantom limb pain is generable intractable and chronic; once it develops it persists and though improved by present medical treatments is not usually abolished by them. Treatments are many and the plethora of options reflects how hard it can be to treat. Drugs used include antidepressants, anticonvulsants (especially newer ones like prigabalin, gabapentin), and simpler analgesics and local anaesthetics. Sometimes physical therapy can help to the residual limb. It is also important in those with chronic pain to also offer psychological and social support, and for a person to have confidence in and a relationship with the team treating them. Sometimes the ‘triangle’ of sleep disturbance, pain and low mood, sum together and improving sleep or low mood can have an impact on pain. Psychological interventions may be part of a multimodality approach to phantom limb pain, which can be compounded by the distress related to the disfigurement and physical impairments. Surgical treatments are less routine and include removal of nerve tissue from the stump if that seems to be contributing and small destructive lesions to the spinal cord or brain. These however

may only lead to temporary pain reduction and so less suitable for people with chronic pain. Interestingly, once a patient is using the limb prosthesis regularly pain often settles and this observation is one which informs more novel treatments and potential treatments, based on trying to at least partially overcome the sensory loss and the loss of movement in the missing limb. Herta Flor’s group, in Germany, has shown that the development of phantom limb pain is correlated with changes in the way peripheral areas of the body are represented in the sensory cortex after loss of a limb. They found that use of an electrical prosthetic limb moved by signals from the patient’s muscle reduced the pain if used for several hours per day. With brain imaging they showed that this effect was dependent on a reversion of the sensory cortex to its original state. Patrick Wall suggested that pain might be considered a ‘need state’, like thirst, rather than simply a sensation. If so then the ‘need’ might involve movement to avoid or reduce pain. Ramachandran and Rogers-Ramachandran, in 1996, asked people with amputations of the arm and phantom limb

pain to place their arms inside a mirror box so that they saw their remaining arm mirror-reversed to look like their amputated one. When they moved their remaining arm in the box they were ‘fooled’ into thinking they were moving their amputated one, and their pain was reduced. Such experiments suggest that phantom limb pain might reflect a loss of motor control to the limb, as well as loss of sensory input from it. In the last 15 years or so some trials of mirror therapy have proved effective, others not, so - as in many treatments for chronic pain - results are mixed. Others have used various virtual reality techniques to show the patient their absent limb in virtual space and then by either taking commands from the remaining limb, or from the residual limb via motion capture or from muscle signals, allowing patients to move the virtual presented limb themselves. Various teams are now investigating whether, by such means, a virtual induced re-embodiment can be sustained and whether with this comes a reduction of the pain. For the moment the mainstays of treatment remain medical and psychological. But more novel, virtual treatments may soon be more available.

www.empowermagazine.org.uk - Page 55



Amputation pain & swelling:

Electrostatic Massage Therapy


EEP OSCILLATION® a gentle, non-invasive electrostatic field therapy getting to the core of pain and swelling DEEP OSCILLATION® is a German, innovative therapy that has been in the UK since 2007 and was introduced by PhysioPod UK Limited. It is now utilised within the NHS and by private MLD Therapists for the treatment and management of Lymphoedema, a chronic (long-term) condition that causes swelling in the body’s tissue which can lead to pain and a loss of mobility. It is also used in the elite sporting world for injuries because it can be used immediately after injury and day one post operatively, significantly reducing pain, swelling and bruising, (normal sports massage would be contraindicated at this stage). DEEP OSCILLATION® promotes a speedier healing and a quicker return to more active forms of physiotherapy.

Intermittent, bi-phasic, impulses (5 Hz – 250 Hz) permeate an 8 cm depth through all tissue layers (applied via vinyl gloves or applicator) Reducing pain, swelling and bruising and encouraging a dynamic wound healing with smoother, resultant scar tissue

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Setting itself apart from traditional electrotherapies, DEEP OSCILLATION® does not electrically stimulate the tissue (it is fitted with patented discharge circuitry), nor does it produce heat in the tissue, so it can be used with implanted pins and plates. It is used in the Rehabilitation Department of The Portland Hospital for Women and Children in London, who primarily use for Lymphoedema but also kindly provided the following statement: “We have used DEEP OSCILLATION® via the HIVAMAT® 200 across both our paediatric and adult client group to reduce swelling and pain post injury, post surgery and postnatally. We have found it to be to of particular relief to patients in reducing discomfort and swelling around the abdominal area following gynaecological surgery”

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How DEEP OSCILLATION® Works DEEP OSCILLATION® is a patented electromechanical therapeutic procedure using resonant vibration of the tissue with DEEP OSCILLATION® equipment from Physiomed, Germany. A special design makes it possible, using electrostatic attraction and friction, “to produce mechanical vibrations in treated tissues of the body, not only at the skin on the surface but also in deeper tissues” - Schönfelder and Berg refer to a “penetrating vibration and pumping effect deep into the tissue”. The frequency can be varied in the range from 5-250 Hz. The treatment applicator/ therapists vinyl gloved hands and the patient are connected to the equipment (voltage source). A vinyl film between the applicator, and/or vinyl gloves and the patient functions as a dielectric. This results in a weakly conducting capacitive layer between the contact surfaces. In action, pulsed electrostatic attractions draw the tissue to the applicator/gloved hand and release it at the rhythm of the chosen frequency. The therapist sets the pressure gradient, speed and direction of the movements. The patient can treat himself if appropriate. The treatment procedure is characterised by minimal external mechanical effects, which allows it to be used in cases of acute pain, fresh injuries and in the treatment of wounds. Numerous pilot studies have demonstrated pain reduction, minimisation of oedema, anti-fibrotic and anti-inflammatory effects as well as improved wound healing. It is commonly used for the treatment of Lymphoedema. DEEP OSCILLATION® is shown by ecographic image recording to permeate an 8cm depth.

Following amputation, tissue layers have been majorly disrupted (skin, muscle, bone and nerves have been cut); the amputee encounters an understandably high level of pain. Research suggests that early pain control is of paramount importance to avoid problems developing further down the line.

Burns rehabilitation:

Study Results: “Clinical healing time of AB skin burns in patients in the group with DEEP OSCILLATION® therapy was 10.8 days (SD 0.55) whereas in the group treated with silver sulfadiazine it was 16.2 days (SD 0.76). The signs test to verify the healing of individuals before and after treatment differed significantly. We found that in the group treated with deep oscillation therapy there were significant differences before and after treatment for p < 0.05 (Z =- 4.81,p = 0.00).”


Julie Soroczyn treats with DEEP OSCILLATION® therapy at Medica 2012 in Germany

Now used for the treatment and maintenance of Lymphoedema in the NHS and by private MLD therapists, sufferers are also successfully self-managing with the DEEP OSCILLATION®

EMPOWER: PAIN MANAGEMENT Applications of DEEP OSCILLATION® Clinically proven effects of DEEP OSCILLATION® • Significant Pain Reduction • Anti-inflammatory effect • Anti-fibrotic effect, Scar Tissue break down • Muscle relaxation • Oedema reduction • Haematoma absorption • Stimulate a dynamic wound healing • Facilitate movement • Reduction of skin irritation • Detoxification • Improvement in the tissue quality

PRODUCTS AVAILABLE: Hospitals/Rehabilitation Units > DEEP OSCILLATION® Evident CLINIC Faster regeneration after surgery, trauma and in neurological indications – in pain, oedema, inflammation, wound healing.

> SPORTS Faster regeneration after training, traumatic injury, damage from overstraining and operations – for muscle aches, strains, inflammation, swelling,


Studies of particular interest to view are below: 1) Mikhalchik E., Titkova S., Anurov. M., Suprun M., Ivanova A., Trakhtman I., Reinhold, J. (2005): Wound Healing Effects of Deep Oscillation. 1st. International Conference on Skin and Environment, Moscow- St. Petersburg, 71. 2) Hernández Tápanes, S., Bravo Acosta, T., Wilson Rojas, R., Fernández Prieto, B., Cabrera Morales, M. (2010): Value of Deep Oscillation therapy in the healing of AB burns. Revista Cubana de Medicina Física y Rehabilitación RNPS 2244FOLIO 148- ISSN 2078-7162 Rev Cub MFR v.2 n.1 Ciudad de la Habana ene-jun. 3) Reißhauer, A., Schoppe, B., Jahr, S. (2007): Evaluation of the effect of Deep Oscillation (HIVAMAT®) on tissue changes of the breast in patients with secondary breast lymphedema. European Journal of Lymphology 51 Vol. 17, 30.

Self-managing with the DEEP OSCILLATION® Personal: The loss of a limb can have a deep-rooted effect on the life of an amputee and managing the symptoms is key to maintaining and improving quality of life.

The DEEP OSCILLATION® Personal Sports is available for self-management with programmes including Traumatic Pain, Muscle Aches and Spasms, Bruising, Swelling and Scar Tissue. All pre-programmed conditions will naturally improve poor circulation too thus improving cold residual limb feeling and associated pain. The unit is lightweight, very easy to use and is supplied in a smart carry case with varying sized applicator heads and rechargeable batteries (mains charger, car charger and recharger). It can be taken as hand luggage on flights. A common problem in the residual limb is swelling, especially following surgery, extreme atmospheric pressure changes and wearing prosthesis for a lengthy period of time. The swelling, caused by excess fluid, can exert pressure on internal structures, resulting in tingling, numbness or pain. Swelling can also alter the fit of a person’s prosthesis and limit his or her ability to wear it comfortably. DEEP OSCILLATION® applied on the Oedema programme will effectively reduce swelling, moving fluid from the end of the limb toward the trunk of the body. Many amputees have scar tissue in the affected limb associated with surgery or the original injury. Scar tissue is tougher, less elastic and often thicker than normal skin and muscle. Due to its restrictive characteristics, scar tissue can have a negative effect on adjacent tissue, resulting in stiffness and/or pain. DEEP OSCILLATION® via the Scar tissue programme is highly recommended to reduce tightness, stiffness, pain and to increase the range of motion of affected and surrounding joints.

HIVAMAT® 200 designed for the individual therapist.

No external pressure is required to permeate the 8cm tissue depth through the applicator (self treatment) or the vinyl gloved hand of the therapist; thus also saving the hands of the therapist.

Trying out DEEP OSCILLATION® Individuals: It is recommended by PhysioPod® UK Limited that individuals wishing to experience DEEP OSCILLATION® should find their nearest therapist to assure suitability and effectiveness of the therapy method before making a decision to invest. http://www.physiopod.co.uk/ therapist-map.shtml

Hospitals/Rehabilitation Centres/Therapists: For more information and to organise a demonstration:

Please email: info@physiopod.co.uk Call our office:

01159 167 685 or Julie Soroczyn on

0788 692 5715 Alternatively visit our website: www.physiopod.co.uk

www.empowermagazine.org.uk - Page 57


…in 15 years of having amputation and trying every conceivable way to try to stop or relieve the unbelievable phantom pain, this (using prism glasses) is the first time I have had any sort of relief

Prism Glasses™ alleviate the symptoms of phantom limb pain


irror therapy has gained a reputation as an effective tool for alleviating phantom limb pain. Doctors in Ninewells Hospital, Dundee have revolutionised the way mirror therapy is delivered by creating Prism Glasses™

Dr. Jonathan Bannister, a Consultant in Anaesthesia and Pain Medicine in Ninewells Hospital, NHS Tayside and his colleague Dr. Glyn Walsh, a Senior Lecturer and Registered Optometrist from Glasgow

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Caledonian University came up with the idea to produce a medical device that would help patients suffering from phantom limb pain. Phantom Limb Pain (PLP) is a common complication following amputation of a limb. In normal circumstances, the brain sends motor signals to move the limb and receives sensory feedback that indicates that the limb is moving as instructed. In some cases of amputation, the brain tries to communicate with the missing limb. The discrepancy between the motor signals sent to move the limb and the sensory feedback received by the brain results in the sensation of pain in the absent limb. Phantom limb pain has proved difficult to treat. In addition to pain killers, patients are offered mirror therapy. The principle is

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that the patient sees a reflection of the intact limb in the mirror and is ‘tricked’ into believing that they are seeing the intact amputated limb. For example, a right handed amputee would see a reflection of their left arm at the position of the right arm, thus creating the illusion of the presence of the right arm even though the right arm has been amputated. This illusion provides the sensory feedback that the brain is expecting and alleviates the pain sensation. Dr. Bannister and Dr. Walsh recognised the difficulties of using mirrors and set about designing a product that was fully portable and suitable for both arm and leg amputations. The Prism Glasses™, by virtue of their size, realistic optical illusion and creativity encourage more frequent therapy and a better chance of

a speedy recovery taking place at home. The functions that can be performed are more natural, compared to alternative products such as mirror boxes. Inventor, Dr. Jonathan Bannister said, “Phantom limb pain can be excruciating for patients who have undergone amputations. I work to help patients manage that pain on a daily basis and I found it frustrating that there was no product that was easy for patients to use to help them in their own homes. This inspired the development of the Prism Glasses and I am delighted to see the final product ready to help patients cope with phantom limb pain.”

For further information please contact: info@prismglasses.co.uk

0141 201 4750 www.prismglasses.co.uk

Exercises to be performed with Prism Glasses™

• Look at the reflection

of the unaffected limb without moving the limb.

• Concentrate on the image and imagine that it is your amputated limb.

• Slowly move the unaffected limb and imagine your amputated limb moving using the same movements

• Symptomatic relief from phantom limb pain.

• Convenient and easy to use • Realistic and convincing optical effect of the affected limb

• Suitable for upper and lower limb phantom pain

Tel: 0141 201 47 50

www.prismglasses.co.uk info@prismglasses.co.uk


Days out and Attractions VisitEngland recommends:



isitEngland is dedicated to ensuring that this incredible and fun-filled country is open and accessible to all. We are constantly monitoring and evaluating ways to further improve your visitor experience, no matter what your accessibility needs are.

England has a vast array of days out and visitor attractions that are focused on helping you get the most from your visit. There are many businesses that are working hard to develop every aspect of your visitor experience. VisitEngland’s Access for All Tourism Award plays a big part in this work. Each year, hotels, B&Bs, attractions and conference venues across England compete to win this award; an accolade which recognises tourism businesses that excel in providing access for all visitors and particularly people with impairments and other physical and sensory access needs. We’ve selected just some of the winners from the past few years, representing days out that offer detailed accessibility information, excellent physical access and the warmest of welcomes, split into Museums, Culture, Active and Great for kids.

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The 2012 Gold winner was the Great North Museum: Hancock in Newcastle. An external ramp and platform lift ensure the whole building is accessible. Guided tours are available on request and booked in advance and there are a number of audio points throughout this fascinating museum, which houses a rich collection of archaeology, natural history, geology and world cultures. The Science Museum in London was 2013’s Silver winner. Welcoming over 2.9 million visitors a year, the museum is committed to being as accessible as possible to a wide range of visitors. As well as having specially trained staff, there are accessible events, including events for deaf audiences, deaf-led tours of galleries, SIGNtific family events and audio described events for partially sighted or blind visitors.

VisitEngland/Pawel Libera

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Culture Winning the Gold Access for All Tourism Award in 2012, the Curve Theatre in Leicester presents diverse and exciting theatre. There is level access throughout, lowered counters and an extensive range of accessible seating. There are induction loops throughout the building and the theatre offers a range of assisted performances including British Sign Language interpretation, audio description and on-screen captions. Tactile tours of the stage are offered to those with a visual impairment before audio-described performances. Assistance dogs are welcome and Curve Café has dietary and allergy aware menus for those with specific requirements. Another Silver award winner is Colston Hall in South West England. In 2009 the music hall, built in 1867, re-opened after a £20 million investment in a new foyer with fully accessible bars, restaurants, educational spaces and renewable features. There are free companion tickets for anyone who needs help attending and the venue will also provide an assistant for those who do not want to attend alone. Assistance dogs can be looked after during a show and up to 14 wheelchair users can be accommodated in the hall at any time. A British Sign Language interpreter is available as well as access to Braille brochures.

In 2009 the National Theatre took the Silver. The performances in this relaxed environment are particularly suitable for those with autism spectrum conditions, sensory or communication disorders or a learning disability. You’ll also find a wide array of other events including platform performances, backstage tours and exhibitions. Infra-red audio headsets and personal neck loops are available and Contego wireless audio amplification systems for backstage tours. The Norman Foster-designed Sage Gateshead took Silver in 2010. All signage and lift buttons are in Braille and lifts have visual and audio indicators and emergency buttons at floor and wheelchair level. Wheelchair users can choose to sit with family and friends in a variety of locations. Assistance and hearing dogs are welcome.



The winner of the Gold Access for All Tourism Award in 2013 was Blackpool’s Sandcastle Waterpark. It’s the UK’s biggest waterpark, with over 18 slides and attractions set in a tropical climate. It meets the needs of guests on an individual basis and is an ideal place to build confidence with being in water. They also have accessible water ambassadors, pool accessible wheelchairs, floatation vests and specially designed equipment to give extra confidence and support where necessary. There’s even a dedicated pool safety hotline to discuss requirements prior to arrival.

Highly Recommended in the Access for All Tourism Award in 2013 was Calvert Trust Exmoor. Catering for all access needs, the trust is a five-star outdoor activity centre set in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Activities on offer include climbing, archery, horse riding, wheelchair abseiling, sailing, accessible cycling and much more. Mobile hoists, shower chairs, electric beds, trembler pads and other equipment are available. Facilities include a fully accessible hydrotherapy swimming pool with high needs changing facilities, a jacuzzi, children’s play area, games room, bar and sensory room.

Great for Kids

England has a vast array of days out and visitor attractions that are focused on helping you get the most from your visit

Overlooking the Humber Estuary, The Deep, in Hull is recognised as one of the world’s most spectacular aquariums. An astonishing collection of over 3,500 fish, engaging audio-visual presentations and innovative interactive exhibits all combine to create an amazing day out come rain or shine. The Deep is also excellently equipped for those with additional needs; hence it received the 2011 VisitEngland Gold Access for All Tourism Award. For visitors with hearing impairments the attraction has a number of displays based around a purely visual experience while at the same time, those with visual impairments will find tactile and Braille copies of The Deep guidebook with a friendly team on hand to provide extra tactile exhibits. The Deep is housed over three levels, all accessible by lifts, with wheelchairs (including electric) available for use free of charge.

Cadbury World was a Silver winner of the Access for All Tourism Award in 2011. Animations and still exhibits enhance the experience throughout the attraction. There are themed sets and zones including darkened areas with low-level lighting and moving and interactive audio/ visual images, plus multiple opportunities to touch and feel props with subtitles and ramped access throughout.

Bronze award winner for 2013 was Eureka! The National Children’s Museum, in Halifax, West Yorkshire. The museum, already popular to those with access needs, has just received funding to increase its accessibility even further through the Helping Hands project. The inside of this colourful building is a treasure house of interactive exhibits that you can smell and touch. Visitors with a disabled child can book a special free service in which a staff-member helps plan the visit, meets the group and looks after them for two hours. The Beacon is a Highly Recommended museum in the Lake District. Through its engaging interactive approach, the museum brings the stories of this intriguing western corner of the Lake District to life and is packed full of simple exhibition graphics and things to see, touch, hear and smell. This affordable museum (kids go free) has a dedicated staff well trained in the accessibility needs of its visitors. Remember, these are just some of the many fantastic award recipients. You can find others, as well as accommodation options for those with access needs, at: www.visitengland.com/ accessforall

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A venue that builds accessibility into everything it does


Photo Credit: Mark Savage

t’s a world class concert venue in the heart of the North East, with a groundbreaking music education programme and sought-after conferencing and events facilities – and as it prepares for its tenth birthday next year, Sage Gateshead is leading the way on venue accessibility.

accessibility for all, to ensure that no individual or group is unreasonably excluded from any activities, facilities or services offered. The Join In programme delivers music workshops and sessions across the North East and in the building – visit the website to learn more.

Sage Gateshead was designed and built to be accessible to all and has sought to go beyond compliance to become a model of good practice in accessibility. Most recently the venue won Gold in the North East England Tourism Access For All Award in 2012 and again in 2013.

Upcoming artists in 2014 include Robert Cray, Naturally7, UB40, Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson, Joan as Police Woman, Cate Le Bon, and many others – including the Gateshead International Jazz Festival in April and SummerTyne Americana festival in July. Visit sagegateshead.com for full listings.

The venue continues to be committed to a policy of

Sage Gateshead was designed and built to be accessible to all and has sought to go beyond compliance to become a model of good practice in accessibility

Sage Gateshead is an international home for music and musical discovery. North East England Tourism Access For All Gold Winners 2012 and 2013

Visit website for listings 0191 443 4661 Page 62 -


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Prepare for an exciting journey through 350 million years of evolution


Sunday 11am – 4pm and has free entry.

iscover the story of our planet and its people at the Great North Museum: Hancock. Highlights of this popular museum include a planetarium and a life-size T.rex dinosaur skeleton, mummies from ancient Egypt, a largescale interactive model of Hadrian’s Wall with major displays showing the wonder and diversity of the animal and plant kingdoms. The museum has an ever changing programme of free family events, exhibitions and adult learning programmes.

The museum serves as a gateway to the environment and landscape of north east England, with the Hadrian’s Wall Gallery displaying exhibits from the entire length of the wall in the single greatest collection of artifacts from the World Heritage Site. The Great North Museum: Hancock was Joint Winner of the Visit England Access for All Gold Award in 2012. The museum has limited blue badge onsite parking – full accessibility details are at

Great North Museum: Hancock is open seven days a week from Monday – Friday 10am – 5pm, Saturday 10am – 4pm and

Free entry

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The museum has an ever changing programme of free family events, exhibitions and adult learning programmes


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Joint Winner of Visit England Access For All Tourism Gold Award 2012 See our website for full access details www.greatnorthmuseum.org.uk Great North Museum: Hancock, Barras Bridge, Newcastle, NE2 4PT Tel: (0191) 222 6765 • Textphone: 18001 0191 222 6765


16/12/2013 11:27

www.empowermagazine.org.uk - Page 63


RSPB: Giving nature a home

R ©RSPB Images, Toby Collett

Visit RSPB Saltholme the wildlife reserve and discovery park Come and explore this oasis of wildlife in the industrial heart of Teesside. RSPB Saltholme has something to offer every nature lover in the family, from the discovery zone where children can get up close and personal to minibeasts in the grasslands and take part in pond dipping, to the hides where you can test your bird identification skills on the wide range of species that visit Saltholme. Our cafe offers a wide range of freshly prepared hot meals and sandwiches and our shop carries everything from bird food and binoculars to books and gifts. Seaton Carew Road, Port Clarence, Middlesbrough. TS2 1TU rspb.org.uk/saltholme 01642 546625

Buy One Get One Free

on hot drinks and daily specials with this voucher (EMDEC13)

Valid until 30 June 2014. Cheapest item free. One voucher per transaction.

Welcome to Eureka! Bronze Access Award in Visit England’s Awards for Excellence , amongst others. Eureka! has long been recognized as an inclusive destination, and the Visit England award highlights the museum’s accessibility for disabled visitors of all ages.


f you’re looking for an unforgettable day out for all the family then look no further than Eureka! The National Children’s Museum in Halifax. Not least because its new £2.9m All About Me gallery, open since March, has just been voted the UK’s top interactive exhibition by parenting website MumsNet. Eureka!’s Tom Warman says “The glowing recommendation from MumsNet follows hot on the heels of Best Family Day Out in Yorkshire from Mamas & Papas, and the

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Since opening in 1992, Eureka! has played a key role in changing perceptions of how museums for children should look and feel. With six galleries and over 400 interactive exhibits, Eureka! actively encourages children to explore and discover the world around them through play. Most importantly, Eureka! is all about children and families playing and learning together, which is why every gallery is designed to get everyone joining in. Eureka! is open 7 days a week during school holidays. Visit www.eureka.org.uk for full details.

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SPB Saltholme is a large, open reserve is situated among the heavy industry of the Tees valley. Sitting in the shadow of the Tees transporter bridge, offering staggering views of wildlife in a unique landscape. The ground floor of the visitor centre is open plan and includes reception, shop, wildlife viewing area with a separate education room. The café is situated on the first floor, accessed via stairs or lift in the foyer. There are two accessible unisex toilets, one on each floor, with baby change facilities. The reserve offers four outdoor trails that are surfaced with

bound gravel. Most of these trails are on level ground and our staff and volunteers in the visitor centre can advise you on the best trail to follow. Outdoor seating is provided at various points along each trail. RSPB Saltholme is a green oasis, offering the opportunity for everyone to experience nature at close quarters, whether that be pond dipping with the little ones in the discovery zone, watching a marsh harrier soar over the reserve in one of our hides or seeing the harbor seals haul out to rest from the seal platform. Visit Saltholme and discover the wildlife of the Tees valley.


Making Holidays Accessible for all >> Provided by - The Virgin Holidays Special Assistance Team

Virgin Holidays has had a dedicated and knowledgeable team handling the needs of disabled travellers for over 20 years, with many customers returning each year thanks to its expertise and commitment to service.


n 2012, it dealt with a record 1200 bookings from disabled customers and with Virgin Holidays continually adding new destinations to their already extensive programme, the holiday company is confident that number will grow further in years to come. The Virgin Holidays Special Assistance Team provides a wide ranging service designed to ensure the particular needs of customers with special requirements are met. Special Assistance Executive Diane Edwards takes up the story: “To begin with, we work with our Product and Contracting teams with the provision of accurate information in our brochures and website concerning hotel facilities. For example, to make it easier for our customers to choose the right accommodation, we advise which symbols should be featured in our brochures and website to denote the level of accessibility available: The wheelchair symbol denotes hotels which offer wheelchair accessible rooms and accessibility within the hotel complex that

meet our criteria. Alongside this symbol we give a brief description of the accessible rooms and the bathroom facilities the hotel is able to offer. This man with stick symbol denotes hotels that don’t necessarily have wheelchair accessible rooms but offer good general access for those with less mobility/ occasional wheelchair user who are able to manage no more than six steps. We then work alongside our Learning and Development department in helping to train our Sales Centre and Retail staff when making bookings for disabled travellers.” Once they’ve chosen their hotel and made their booking, customers can then request wheelchair accessible and ground floor rooms through the Special Assistance team, subject to availability. The team work closely with their hotel suppliers, and are able to make room guarantees that give their customers reassurance and peace of mind before they travel.

In the event there is an accommodation that a customer likes the look of but has no symbol, the Special Assistance Team who will be able to advise them of its suitability. Edwards continues: “We understand that everyone has different needs and therefore different requirements – so we are happy to find out any detail required in making sure the accommodation is suitable to meet the needs of our customers.” Customers can also use the Special Assistance team to arrange wheelchair accessible transfers from and to the airport at many of Virgin Holidays’ destinations or car or mini van transport. For those who wish to drive in Florida, Virgin Holidays’ number one destination, wheelchair accessible van rental is available, offering full size or mini vans with wheelchair tie downs and ramps. All vans are new models and of a high standard. In the US, the company work in partnership with Alamo Car Rental, who are able to provide complimentary...

In 2012, Virgin Holidays dealt with a record 1200 bookings from disabled customers and with Virgin Holidays continually adding new destinations to their already extensive programme

www.empowermagazine.org.uk - Page 65

EMPOWER: TRAVEL ...hand controls and steering balls on a wide choice of vehicle, and ‘stow-n-go’ seven seater vans providing extra space at the rear of the vans for scooters, wheelchair and other medical equipment. It’s also possible to hire medical equipment through the Special Assistance Team with local companies in resort – whether it is manual wheelchairs, hoists, scooters and shower chairs – at an extra charge. Virgin Holidays has a reputation for innovation and a new service it’s recently introduced to the Caribbean is its complimentary beach wheelchair at selected hotels in Barbados, Antigua and St Lucia. These wheelchairs allow guests who have walking difficulties or are wheelchair users easy access onto the

beach. This idea, exclusive to Virgin Holidays customers, was the brainchild of a member of the Special Assistance Team and has become very popular with customers – with the plan to be to expand their use across the region and other destinations. If customers want to know about excursions and trips in a particular resort and whether they are suitable to meet their needs, the Special Assistance will be more than happy to help and provide them with more information on their suitability.

relation to their disability/ medical condition. They can be contacted on 0844 412 4455. With other airlines, contact details for customers can be provide, to call them directly to make any necessary airport/ flight arrangements. Edwards comments: “Please don’t wait - contact the Special Assistance Team as your first

book a holiday – we can help with your initial enquiries before you go ahead and make that all important holiday booking.” Contact Details: Virgin Holidays Special Assistance Telephone number: 0844 557 3998 Mon-Fri 9.00 am to 5.30pm Email: special.assistance@ virginholidays.com

The majority of Virgin Holidays customers fly with its sister company, Virgin Atlantic, who have their own Special Assistance Team. They help with airport assistance and any in flight requirements passengers may have in port of call when looking to

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21/11/2013 21/11/2013 15:17 15:17


The Motability Scheme: Disability Rights UK >> Provided by - Motability (www.motability.co.uk)

Motability was established to provide disabled people with safe, reliable and affordable cars.


ou can use this scheme to hire or buy a car or powered wheelchair or scooter if you have been awarded any of: • disability living allowance (DLA) high rate mobility component • personal independence payment (PIP) enhanced mobility component • armed forces independence payment • war pensioners’ mobility supplement In the case of PIP and DLA the award must usually be for long enough to complete the full length of the chosen agreement (see ‘Length of PIP and DLA awards’ below). You can apply for a car as a passenger if you are eligible but don’t drive. A parent or carer can apply on behalf of a child who is receiving an award. Proposed drivers must not have any serious driving convictions, disqualifications, or endorsements within the last five years. There are also some restrictions on drivers under 25 and those with provisional licences. Motability also provides grants for driving lessons. Motability offers a choice of: • A new car on a three-year contract hire lease. • A new or used car on hire

purchase, over a term of two to five years. • A new or used powered wheelchair, or scooter on hire purchase, over a term of one to three years. • Once you have chosen which scheme you wish to join, you must then agree to pay over all, or part, of your allowance to it. By far the most popular choice is the contract hire scheme, which offers customers a new car from a list of approved manufacturers, on a three-year lease. All maintenance and servicing costs are included, together with comprehensive insurance and breakdown assistance. You do not have to be the driver of the car. You can instead apply for a car as a passenger and nominate two other people as your drivers. You can also apply to the scheme if you have a child aged three or older, who is entitled to DLA high rate mobility component. Motability has introduced the following limitations to the scheme: • They will only offer only cars with an Advance Payment of £2,000 or less. You will still be able to get help above this level if your disability-related needs require it. • Your nominated driver must live within 5 miles of you. Motability also will not accept nominated

drivers under the age of 21 unless they live with you. • Motability will require a Statement of Responsibilities to be signed at the beginning of each lease by you, the nominated drivers and the supplying motor dealer. • Young drivers under the age of 25 are restricted to cars in ABI Insurance Group 16 or lower which also have a power output of 115 BHP or less. In order to help you choose a scheme that suits you Motability publish information about the pros and cons of different schemes, price guides, lists of dealers and guidance on choosing a car. Driving Lessons: If you are aged between 16 and 24, Motability may provide help towards the cost of your driving lessons. Motability will not pay for either the theory or practical driving test. Adaptations to cars: There is a range of car adaptations available including steering wheel knobs, hand controls for brakes and accelerators and wheelchair hoists. It is important to choose a car suitable for the adaptations you require so check with a Motability accredited specialist before ordering your car. Motability also runs a Specialised Vehicles Fund which helps the

most severely disabled people to lease a suitable vehicle. These leases are typically for five years for wheelchair accessible vehicles or heavily adapted cars. The cost of adaptations, plus fitting and removal, may not be included in your lease. You will have to pay for these yourself. You may have to pay more if you need a larger car due to your circumstances or your disability needs . If so, you will be asked to make an additional up-front payment known as an Advance Payment to cover the additional costs over a more basic model. If you cannot afford the car or the adaptations, Motability may be able to provide help towards the cost of the least expensive solution that would meet your mobility needs. A Motability accredited specialist must carry out adaptations fitted to a Motability car. Your Motability supplier and their insurers need to be informed before you go ahead with the fittings. Fuel: You will have to pay for the fuel you use, so it is worth calculating likely fuel costs before making a decision on which car to have. Car manufacturers publish details to guide you. The higher the miles per gallon figure, the further you can drive on the same amount of fuel.

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EMPOWER: MOTABILITY TRAVEL Excess mileage cost: If you opt for a three-year contract hire lease, you are entitled to drive 60,000 miles over the three-year period of your agreement – 20,000 each year. When the car is returned, you will have to pay 5p per mile for any extra mileage used. Road tax (Vehicle Excise Duty) and insurance: All vehicles on the road are liable to Vehicle Excise Duty, better known as road tax. You will be sent a tax disc each year (unless you are in Northern Ireland or the Isle of Man) as part of your agreement. As part of your contract hire lease you should also receive insurance cover and free replacement tyres and windscreens when needed.

renewed to cover the full length of the chosen scheme, the car will need to be returned to Motability. This gives customers around three months between the cancellation of the allowance and the returnby date, during which the lease can be paid privately, so that there is time available to arrange an alternative car.

that an award may be reduced or lost altogether. If you receive any care component of DLA or daily living component of PIP, a decision-maker could also decide to question your entitlement to those as well. If you decide to ask for your award to be extended seek specialist advice from an advice agency or law centre first.

To buy on hire purchase, your award needs to run for at least 2 years if you buy a used car, or at least 4 years if you buy a new car.

Transitional support if you fail PIP: If you were on DLA and getting a Motability car but fail the PIP enhanced mobility component test you can get the following help:

Requesting an extension of your PIP or DLA award: The Department for Work and Pensions is responsible for awarding DLA and PIP. If you are unable to access the Motability Scheme because your award is not long enough but your mobility problems are unlikely to change or may actually get worse, you can ask for your award to be extended.

Length of PIP and DLA awards: To hire a new car, your award should usually run for at least 3 years. However Motability can allow access to those in receipt of awards with 12 months or more remaining. If your award is not

Great care needs to be taken when considering this option because it is always possible



• Your DLA payment will continue for four weeks after they make their decision regarding your PIP claim. • The Motability Scheme will allow you to keep your vehicle for up to a further 3 weeks from the date the DLA payments end. You can also get transitional support from Motability, though to qualify for this you must return

your car to the dealership in good condition and within the agreed timeframe. This support varies according to your circumstances: • If you entered into your first lease agreement with the Scheme before January 2013 you will be paid transitional support of £2,000. • If you entered into your first lease agreement with the Scheme after January 2013 and up to December 2013, you will get transitional support of £1,000. If you need a vehicle with adaptations, Motability will help you with the costs of fitting the same adaptations to a nonScheme vehicle. Scheme suppliers, including Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance plc (RSA) and RAC, will provide general information on motoring, insurance and other motoring services outside of the Scheme.

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Home Insurance Crafted For Your Needs Disabled people living with the loss or absence of a limb face daily obstacles. Thankfully, with Motability HOME Insurance you can be sure of cover designed by the people who understand you best


ince 2009, more than 15,000 customers have bought Motability HOME Insurance. Created in partnership with leading UK insurance company RSA, it’s refreshingly practical and totally designed around the needs of disabled people and their families. Steps ahead of most home insurance products around today, Motability HOME Insurance customers don’t pay an additional premium to protect against accidental damage or loss to prosthetic limbs. Our home contents include it as standard. The same goes for class 1 wheelchairs and hearing aids. Saving you money at every turn Moving to Motability HOME Insurance is easy. You select the buildings and contents cover that fits your lifestyle and activities. It means you only pay for the cover you need and nothing more. Choose your core cover, then select extra’s like:

• Technology and

entertainment – protecting electrical items like TV’s, cameras, iPods and computers against accidental damage and loss, both inside and outside your home.

• Cover for personal items

inside and outside your home – from spectacles to cash, sporting kit to camping equipment

• Garden plants, furniture,

lawns and tools - and even a garden re-landscape if it is ever damaged by emergency services.

• Home emergency – advice

and practical assistance, including sourcing alternative accommodation

• Legal expenses – professional

mediation to resolve personal injury, consumer protection, residential, employment and tax issues. If you need additional accidental damage, this can be arranged. Rest assured, if it’s already covered by another package, you wouldn’t pay twice! And if you want to spread the cost over the year, you won’t be charged any monthly interest. Award-winning service One of our customers, Mr Waller chose Motability HOME Insurance because “it provided cover for wheelchairs and it was the only home insurance I could find that did.” Last year we replaced his television, damaged when a wall cabinet fell on it. Mr Waller rated RSA’s claims service 10 out of 10, describing his personal claims manager as “very helpful and friendly.” For added convenience, customers will benefit from a dedicated Personal Claims Manager to speak to. Evidence that the partnership truly understands your needs was shown when the team won a 2013 Third Sector Business Charity Award. Celebrated for its product features and for driving significant funds back into Motability, one judge commented: “I love the fact that they have designed policies for the disabled client base and they cover items such as stair lifts.”

Raising more than £1 million for Motability As a result of every Motability HOME Insurance policy sold in the last five years, RSA looks set to exceed its £1 million fundraising target by the end of 2013. Collected through an annual commission arrangement*, this boost in funds will go a long way to helping more than 900 disabled people with a charitable grant

* Commission paid to Motability Enterprises Limited. 100% of the taxable profits of Motability Enterprises Limited are gift aided to Motability. For every policy sold RSA will pay 14% in commission to Motability. Motability Enterprises Limited is an Introducer Appointed Representative of Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance plc. Motability Home Insurance is administered and underwritten by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance plc (No. 93792) registered in England and Wales at St. Mark’s Court, Chart Way, Horsham, West Sussex RH12 1XL. Authorised by the Prudential Regulatory Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Calls may be recorded and monitored.

Cover is easy to arrange by calling us FREE on 0800 783 0061 quoting MP20, or visit www.motability.co.uk/ homeinsurance to get a further 10% discount.

www.empowermagazine.org.uk - Page 69

Legal Advice from Irwin Mitchell Compensation is only part of the story as limbloss and amputations have a dramatic and life-changing impact not only for the person injured but also for those who are close to them. We passionately believe that our clients and their families deserve the best possible medical care, rehabilitation and specialised support after a serious injury. www.irwinmitchell.com/personalinjury Freephone: 08000 23 22 33 Follow us on Twitter @IMAmputeeInjury

Personal Injury

Irwin Mitchell LLP is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

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Empower Magazine Issue 2  

The UK's first and only amputee lifestyle magazine, delivered to all UK NHS prosthetic centres and private prosthetic centres.

Empower Magazine Issue 2  

The UK's first and only amputee lifestyle magazine, delivered to all UK NHS prosthetic centres and private prosthetic centres.