1. ITV Report

Mother's campaigning could offer new hope to children with cerebral palsy

Holly soon after the procedure in America. Photo:

A life-changing operation for people with celebral palsy is going to be trialled in the UK thanks to a mother from Northamptonshire.

In 2010, 39-year-old Jo Davies raised more than £40,000 to fly her four-year-old daughter Holly to America for treatment.

She underwent a procedure called Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR) which involves opening up the bones of the spine in the lower back to operate on nerves and relieve spasticity.

Holly following the treatment in America.

For Holly, from Daventry, it meant she could finally stand flat on her feet for the first time without falling over.

And, now eight, her mother said you would struggle to notice any difference between her and other children her age.

But SDR is a treatment not usually funded by the NHS which says the effectiveness has not yet been sufficiently proven.

Now, after four years of campaigning by her mother who wanted more children to benefit from the procedure, the NHS has finally agreed to run a trial.

Holly and her sister in America.

About 120 children aged between three and 10 who suffer stiffness in their lower limbs as a result of cerebral palsy are set to benefit.

The trial will take place at five hospitals across the country and aims to gather the evidence needed to assess the effectiveness of the treatment.

“For children with cerebral palsy, being unable to walk easily can be extremely distressing and painful.

"Although current evidence is limited, SDR surgery shows real promise for some patients with mobility problems and that’s why we want to explore it further through our innovative evaluation programme.

"Not only will this enable a number of children to have potentially life-changing surgery, improving their mobility and independence, but this provides a real opportunity to gather the vital evidence we need on the effectiveness of the procedure, for the benefit of our patients.”

– James Palmer, Clinical Director of Specialised Services, NHS England.