Travelling in the winter or the early months of spring can present challenges that are less than welcome. Such was the case when the LA sent a delegation to visit Glasgow in March 2023. Imagine sitting patiently at one of the departure gates at Stansted Airport and watching the ground crews using hot steam pressure cleaners to remove the ice from the aircraft wings and fuselage prior to take off! The snow and ice lead to inevitable flight delays, but after about two hours of nervous anticipation, we were able to take to the steel grey skies and head north. Arriving in Glasgow we were met with wonderful spring sunshine, very different from the snowy wastes of Essex that were left behind earlier that day.

Life after limb loss means a lot more than just getting the right type of prosthetic limb!

The reason for our visit to Scotland was to give a presentation about the work of the LA to first-year students attending Strathclyde University’s Prosthetics and Orthotics degree course. It is obviously very important that those young men and women who will later enter the profession as prosthetists, gain an understanding of the vital work that our charity delivers to the UK limb loss community. The student’s focus will ordinarily be on the skills required to assess and deliver prosthetic rehabilitation equipment for each unique individual that they will encounter in their clinics. However, life after limb loss means a lot more than just getting the right type of prosthetic limb!

The LA Service User Pathway

Clifton Henry, our National Outreach Manager and I were able to present a detailed description of the LA’s service user pathway with relevant examples of our personal experience as trauma amputees. We explained how our Services Support Team are the first point of contact and that this will often lead to a referral to a Volunteer Visitor, who will always be an amputee with relevant or related life experience of limb loss. We concluded the presentation with information about our nationwide Support and Connect outreach initiatives involving peer group activities and ongoing welfare support. This was very well received and a number of students came forward at the end of the presentation to ask further questions about the work of the charity.

We were also privileged to have the opportunity to visit the West Of Scotland Mobility And Rehabilitation Centre, known locally as the ‘Westmarc’ and located within the grounds of the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Govan. This is a very impressive service centre and we were informed that it caters for 52% of Scotland’s amputee community, which translates to a figure in excess of 42,000 active wheelchair and prosthetics patients.

As the UK’s leading disability charity meeting the needs of the civilian limb loss community, it is important that we maintain close contact with our members and friends in Scotland. Our recent visit highlighted the vital work being undertaken by the University of Strathclyde in developing the next generation of prosthetists, and it also allowed us to see for ourselves the excellent services offered to the local amputee community at the Westmarc.