UK & World News
Bionic Legs: New Prosthetics For Injured Soldiers
The Government has pledged £6.5m to buy the latest prosthetic limbs for soldiers injured in Iraq and Afghanistan.
One of the new legs which will now be available to amputees is the US-made Genium.
Its cutting edge knee joint is said to relieve back pain for the wearer and help balance. Wearers also find it easier to walk backwards and over obstacles with it.
The Defence Secretary Philip Hammond made the announcement on a trip to Headley Court rehabilitation centre in Surrey.
The hospital, which is set in 85 acres of grounds dominated by an Elizabethan manor, has recently had millions spent on it.
£17m was invested to build a new complex and a further £5m was spent refurbishing the accommodation facilities last year.
Mr Hammond told Sky News: "Welfare of our people is our top priority.
"This money will mean the clinicians here will be able to select from the very best prosthetics limbs available including the latest bionic limbs.
"We are clear that those who have suffered life-changing injuries in Afghanistan or Iraq, serving their country, deserve the very best that is clinically appropriate for them.
"The NHS has made the commitment to supporting these limbs in the future once these people have left the service and gone out into the outside world."
Sky News spoke to three men who between them have lost seven limbs.
One of them is Captain Nick Beighton. He lost both his legs above the knee when he was blown up by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan in October 2009.
"I trod on an IED on a foot patrol," he explained. "You come here and you have a very pragmatic approach to things.
"One of the most obvious things we've lost is the ability to move around ourselves.
"Here we are able to discount our disability and it's about what we can achieve.
"Such a fundamental part of our recovery or rehabilitation is what limb we're using, they all offer something different.
"They (prosthetic limbs) all offer something different, but the shiny ones people tend towards because they look Gucci!
"I love these legs because they give me the freedom to express myself, to be what I want to be, to get out and do everything that I want to achieve. It's why today's announcement is so important for military amputees."
They are here to work not to have fun, one resident of the centre told me as we walked through the ground. Five days a week, full on classes. It is no wonder they get the results.
The fact that many of the soldiers are here, especially those with multiple amputations, is testament to improved medical science, particularly on the battlefield.
At the start of the Afghan conflict, many, perhaps all, would have died of their wounds long before reaching Headley Court.
The money that has been announced also comes with a commitment - that the NHS will treat the injured soldiers for life after they leave the service.