South Yorkshire amputee fears he could 'lose other arm' unless he gets new prosthetic limb

Adrian Barrass, left, with John Healey MP.
Adrian Barrass, left, with John Healey MP.

A South Yorkshire man who lost his arm in a car crash says he faces a race against time to save his other arm unless he gets a new prosthetic limb.

Adrian Barrass suffered brain damage, had his right arm amputated up to his shoulder and also injured his left arm in the collision 13 years ago.

But he has repeatedly been turned down for funding from the NHS for a new state-of-the-art digital prosthetic.

The father-of-three said without it he struggles to complete everyday tasks and fears that over reliance on his existing damaged arm could cause it to deteriorate so much that it becomes unusable.

Mr Barrass, of Swinton in Rotherham, said: “A prosthetic arm would make a massive difference to my life, both physically and mentally. It would give me back some of my independence and dignity. I don’t want to be a burden on people. I have always been a proud man.

“It would be the little things that would mean the most, like being able to put both my arms around my children. I’m scared that soon I won’t have my other arm either.”

His case has been taken up by Wentworth and Dearne MP John Healey, who said he has uncovered a dramatic fall in funding for specialised treatment from 256 approvals in 2013/14 to just 29 from April-November 2016/17. That means just one in six applications now get the green light, compared to three years ago.

Mr Healey added it is money from this pot of cash that Mr Barrass’s clinicians have repeatedly applied for and been knocked back.

The Labour MP, who is calling for a meeting with NHS chief executive Simon Stevens, said: "I’m angry and frustrated that 13 years after his devastating accident – and two years of my involvement and investigation – Mr Barrass is still no further forward.

“He just wants the medical help he needs to help him live a life with dignity."

The Individual Funding Request Panel, which handles requests for extra funding from the NHS for specialist equipment, said they refused Mr Barrass' application because he is "representative of a group of patients who have a similar condition and who could potentially all request the same treatment."

The panel added "there is insufficient evidence to support the clinical exceptionality of this patient.”