Amputee war heroes left waiting for new bionic limbs amid a row about costs

Amputee war vets must wait even longer for bionic legs as bean counters row over costs, The Sunday People can reveal.

The 27 heroes appallingly injured in Afghanistan and Iraq are due to have life-changing operations.

They are part of a £2million Government trial which is held up as the NHS and the Ministry of Defence squabble over surgery prices.

The MoD has already postponed the scheme, being paid for by Libor banking scandal fines, three times.

Afghanistan veteran amputee Clive Smith from Hazel Slade, Cannock, Staffordshire
Afghanistan veteran amputee Clive Smith from Hazel Slade, Cannock, Staffordshire
(Photo: Tom Harley-Easthope/Birmingham Mail)

The soldiers will have titanium rods put into amputated stumps, so clip-on limbs can be attached, at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

It will give them full mobility and is better than putting stumps in a housing that is held on by straps.

A senior orthopaedic surgeon said: “The MoD thinks the hospital is­ ­asking too much for the operation – and so no contract has been signed.

Afghanistan war veteran Clive Smith
Afghanistan war veteran Clive Smith
(Photo: Birmingham Mail)

“I can’t believe they are arguing about money. We’re quite upset. We’re aware some of these guys have waited a long while for news that this operation will become routine here.”

Concerns have also been raised about post-surgery bed capacity at the hospital as some patients may briefly need intensive care.

The medic said: “There’s pressure on beds and there’s been talk about moving the surgery elsewhere.”

Afghanistan war veteran Clive Smith
Afghanistan war veteran Clive Smith
(Photo: Birmingham Mail)

The operation has been carried out hundreds of times abroad by Prof Munjed Al Muderis in Australia.

Ex sapper Clive Smith, 31 – who lost two legs – mortgaged his house to pay for surgery there. It has ­transformed his life.

More than 200 soldiers in the UK may benefit from the op which will allow many users to swim, climb and run with their new limbs.

Birmingham NHS trust said it and the MoD were finalising plans and aiming to treat the first patients this spring.

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