Below is the text of Mr Major’s written Parliamentary Answer on Artificial Limbs on 25th November 1986.
Mr. Dubs Asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many people are waiting for artificial limbs to be (a) fitted or (b) repaired or adjusted.
Mr. Major The artificial limb service does not operate a waiting list. As soon as a patient is referred to one of the Department of Health and Social Security artificial limb and appliance centres and following medical examination and prescription, arrangements are made for the supply of an artificial limb or limbs. Duplicate artificial limbs are generally provided to cover the eventuality of the need for repairs or other adjustments to the limbs in use. Once provided with their prostheses, patients are then given an on-demand service for repair and re-adjustments which vary greatly in the amount of work required; the majority are completed on the day. At any point in time approximately 9,000 artificial limbs are being constructed (4,500) or repaired (4,500).
In asking this question the hon. Member may have in mind the effect on patient services of the J. E. Hanger industrial dispute. Since the start of this dispute 78 patients have had their appointments postponed, several of which have now been re-instated. A larger number have experienced delay. Arrangements have been made to identify these countrywide and where necessary steps are being taken to deal with them in conjunction with the company. Additionally, I refer the hon. Member to the reply that I gave to the hon. Member for Coventry, South-East (Mr. Nellist) on 17 November at column 75.