Family left to meet cost of 20k false legs for meningitis-struck son following an admin blunder
Archie was struck down with Meningitis B when he was 18 months-old
The mother of a six-year-old boy with meningitis has been criticised after being left to fund a 20,000 pair of artificial legs for her meningitis-struck son following an admin blunder.
Archie Barton, six, was due to pick up his latest set of high-tech limbs from a clinic in Dorset this week after growing out of his old ones.
But his family were shocked to discover the NHS will no longer pay for the private clinic because the same prosthetics are available closer to their home in Plymouth, Devon.
Furious: Nicky Barton said her son could not afford to wait two weeks for alternative NHS limbs as his legs and pelvis will tighten. The NHS funded his first pair of legs from a private centre since 2009 (right)
Archie’s mother Nicky, 45, said they have no choice but to pay the 20,000 bill themselves because any delay could harm his progress.
She said: 'It’s just a mess, a complete shambles. There’s been a lack of communication and I can’t cancel this now.
'Archie is desperate for new limbs as he has grown so much. The old ones hurt him.
'The new legs have been made and he’s expecting them. He’s been doing so wonderfully.
'Even waiting two weeks and his legs and pelvis will tighten. It’s a lot of money but we will have to find it.'
Archie lost his legs due to severe septicaemia after being struck down with meningitis B at 18 months old, and now needs new artificial limbs each year. He also has a severe visual impairment.
Struggle: Archie lost his legs to severe septicaemia when he was just 18 months old (pictured)
NHS Plymouth has funded Archie’s care at the private specialist centre in Dorset since 2009, after his parents mounted a campaign.
They apologised that a letter informing the Bartons of the changes had not reached them before the private clinic told them.
NHS Plymouth says Archie can receive an alternative set of limbs from the city’s Disablement Services Centre within two weeks of assessment.
Mrs Barton said that was 'too long' to wait for her son, whose prosthetics are hurting him because they are too small.
Fiona Phelps, NHS Plymouth assistant director of commissioning, said: 'I’m sorry that Mr and Mrs Barton didn’t receive our letter before they had the phone call from the private provider in Dorset.'
She said a letter explaining the decision and inviting the family to discuss Archie’s needs has been sent.
Little Archie, pictured here aged 18 months, has fundraised for meningitis charities and met diver Tom Daley
Ms Phelps said: 'Our funding comes from the public purse and so it is good practice to review and check how we make best use of NHS money while continuing to provide a quality service for local people.'
Mrs Barton said that she intends to appeal the decision to move her son’s care, adding that the family will have paid for the limbs by the time a letter arrives.
For more information about Archie's appeal visit www.archiesstory.co.uk