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Lack of funding stops further hand transplants

The surgeon in Leeds who carried out the UK's first ever hand transplant says a lack of NHS funding in England has stopped him carrying out any more of the operations. It is just over a year since patient Mark Cahill, from Halifax had his hand replaced by Professor Simon Kay.

But the doctor says the next surgery is likely to be on a patient from Scotland where money is still available to pay for it. Professor Kay is now offering to go with Mr Cahill to meet local NHS commissioners in England to urge them to fund the £60,000 operation and aftercare for other patients.


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A history of successful hand transplants

A 51-year-old man from West Yorkshire has become the first person in the UK to have a hand transplant.

Mark Cahill had the operation on the 27 December and doctors have said he is making "good progress".

  • Leeds Teaching Hospitals announced in late 2011 that it was starting to look for potential candidates for hand or arm transplants.
  • The UK team has been working closely with colleagues in Lyon, France, where hand transplants were pioneered in 1998.
  • A new technique meant Mr Cahill could have his non-functioning right hand removed in operation where a donor hand was also transplanted.
  • The first-ever recipient in France was New Zealander Clint Hallam, who later had his new hand removed as he felt "mentally detached" from it.
  • Doctors in the United States, Austria and France have carried out a number of successful hand transplants.