$7.7 million announced for prosthetic limbs for children

MORE than 130 Queensland children born with a limb deficiency, or who have had limbs amputated, will be able to live more active and fulfilling lives thanks to a new Queensland Government program.

Premier Campbell Newman and Health Minister Lawrence Springborg today announced a $7.7 million budget boost for a new Active Limbs4Kids Program for young people up to the age of 18, which will, in most cases, fund recreational prosthetics free-of-charge.

The four-year program will fund the majority of costs for new and replacement 'blade' lower limbs and a variety of attachments for upper limbs, as well as ongoing maintenance and repairs.

"Recreational prosthetics will allow young people to participate in physical activities such as running, swimming or playing musical instruments," Mr Newman said.

"There are currently 132 children receiving standard prosthetics to support their basic functioning from the Queensland Artificial Limbs Service and they could all benefit from recreational prosthetics.

"This program could conceivably pave the way for some children to fulfil their dreams of becoming future paralympians or performing musical artists.

"Whatever they chose to do with their lives, they will be able to lead more active and fulfilling lives thanks to the opportunities provided by this program.

"Our Government has a strong health plan which will provide a brighter future for young people and their families who face physical challenges in life."

Mr Springborg said new programs like Active Limbs4Kids were made possible from the Newman Government reducing waste and inefficiency in the health system it inherited from the previous Government and making better use of taxpayers' money to help those most in need.

One child who will benefit from the expanded service is 11-year-old Kyle Haslam from Jimboomba. Kyle lost his lower legs at just 14 months old when he contracted pneumococcal septicaemia.

"Kyle was provided with running blades through a 12-month pilot program run by the Royal Children's Hospital in 2010," Mr Springborg said.

"Now that he's growing, he needs new sockets for his blades and in the next few years will also require totally new blades. Previously recreational prosthetics were excluded from funding but under our new Active Limbs4Kids program, they will be totally covered in most cases for the next four years.

"A letter from Kyle's mother last year, asking for assistance with the maintenance and repairs of the blades, alerted me to the fact that there was a very real need for this gap to be filled.

"Through the additional funding, I'm delighted Queensland Health can help children like Kyle to be able to fulfil their sporting and artistic ambitions and dreams."

Dominique Haslam said the announcement of new funding to help children like her son Kyle was a massive relief to her family.

"Kyle is so much happier since he's been able to run like other children and he's taken to the sport by joining the local Little Athletics club and last year won a state title for 100 metres for his age and classification," Mrs Haslam said.

"He's now starting to dream about maybe one day representing his country on the track and this program will go a long way to helping him to continually improve and one day maybe achieve his sporting dream."

The Queensland Artificial Limb Service is managed under the Metro South Hospital and Health Service.


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