A surgical procedure, called selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR), which can help children with cerebral palsy regain function in their legs, is to be made available on the NHS.

SDR reduces tight and stiff muscle tone in the lower limbs in order to improve function and mobility.

The operation has been available in America since 2007, and a number of British families have travelled there for surgery at the cost of around £50,000.

Between 2010 and 2012, a limited number of children were offered the operation at Bristol and Leeds hospitals on the NHS with local health authorities contributing to the cost.

The NHS then withdrew the operation claiming that its worth was not proven.

The new programme will take place at five hospitals in England and around 120 children, aged three to 10, are set to undergo SDR surgery every year.

Clinical negligence solicitor and joint head of Thompsons’ clinical negligence team, Linda Millband, said: “Children with cerebral palsy can suffer extreme pain as well as the distress of not being able to walk.

“SDR is a life-changing operation, which, until now, has been out of reach for many families and children in the UK because of the price tag.

“At Thompsons, we wholeheartedly welcome and support medical advancements which improve the quality of life for patients and it is extremely positive news that the NHS will now enable at least some children to benefit from this potentially life-changing surgery.”