HEALTH chiefs have agreed to fund selective dorsal rhizotomy - an operation designed to improve the walking of children with cerebral palsy.

The previous refusal by NHS England to routinely pay for SDR forced three north Trafford families, whose stories have been covered in Messenger, to raise cash to pay for the surgery themselves.

Health chiefs have agreed to meet the costs of SDR over the next two to three years and to monitor the effects it has on patients with the condition.

The initiative will benefit 120 youngsters each year and Urmston resident Joanna Worth, whose son Aidan had the SDR operation last August, said the decision was 'fantastic news.'

Joanna, from Whitelake Avenue said: "That's fantastic news that they will be funding 120 children for SDR and that it's been recognised that the operation has so many benefits for children with cerebral palsy.

"We have seen amazing progress in Aidan in the 10 months since his operation and we hope he continues to improve through the hard work he puts into his physiotherapy. "

The selective dorsal rhizotomy operation will be paid for at five hospitals including Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust and Alder Hey Children's NHS Foundation Trust.

James Palmer, clinical director of specialised services at NHS England said: "For children with cerebral palsy,, being unable to walk easily can be extremely distressing and painful.

"Although current evidence is limited, SDR surgery shows 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 with 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 evidence we need on the effectiveness of the procedure, for the benefit of our patients."

The SDR surgery is being funded at five hospitals across the country through NHS England's Commissioning Through Evaluation programme and patients can be referred to these centres for the treatment by specialists in their area.