Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by northern_one, Aug 28, 2007.

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  1. I just read this in the paper ' daily mail' and it made me wonder if I'm the only one who gets infuriated by this sort of treatment. Please read on:

    Ben Parkinson volunteered to serve his country on the Afghan front line - and paid a terrible price.

    The young paratrooper suffered a total of 37 terrible injuries when he was blown up by a landmine.

    He lost both his legs and sustained grievous damage to his spine, skull, pelvis, hands, spleen and ribcage, leaving him in a coma for months.

    Incredibly, 23-year-old Ben is still alive almost a year later - according to his doctors the most badly-injured soldier ever to survive.

    All his mother wants is to buy a bungalow so she can care for him there.

    Yet as recompense for his ruined life, Ben has been offered only £152,150 - little more than half the maximum award for maimed military personnel and less than a third of the £484,000 doled out to an RAF typist who claimed she had suffered repetitive strain injury to her thumb.

    Yesterday Ben's mother Diane Dernie told how she plans to challenge the award in the High Court, and spoke of her disgust at this "insult" to her brave son.

    "We won't let him lose his chance to come home," she said. "It is iniquitous the way his injuries have been dismissed as nothing. He deserves better."

    Mrs Dernie has been told that Ben's case does not qualify for legal aid. So she is appealing for help to raise £50,000 to fund the first High Court challenge against the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme, arguing that its rules are patently unfair in the most severe cases.

    A successful judicial review would ensure that several other soldiers maimed in Iraq and Afghanistan will receive financial security.

    Ben's case exemplifies the mounting concern about the Government's treatment of the Armed Forces.

    Scroll down for more

    Fighting his disability with courage: Ben on his hospital bed

    Injured soldier's mother asks: 'What price is my son's broken life?'
    Head of Army says troops must prepare for 'generation of conflict ' to defeat Muslim extremism
    We won't cut and run from Iraq, says Brown
    Our 5,000 troops can't stop a record Afghanistan opium crop

    Opposition MPs, veterans' organisations and even some commanders are arguing that the military covenant - which guarantees personnel fair treatment in return for risking their lives - is being broken.

    Ben is expected to spend a year or more in a military rehabilitation centre, but will then need a specially-adapted home and specialist daily care.

    He has been told that red tape surrounding the Government's compensation scheme means only three of his injuries can be taken into account. The rest count for nothing.

    In a civil claim involving similar injuries, an individual could expect compensation of upwards of a million pounds.

    Mrs Dernie, 49, from Doncaster, said: "The MoD's offer is just ludicrous. It's an insult. The way the scheme works is terribly unfair to people in Ben's position, because it doesn't take consider the effects of all his injuries."

    Lance Bombardier Parkinson was maimed in September last year near Musa Qaleh in Helmand Province, while serving with the 7th Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery. He was flown to Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham, where doctors told his family to expect the worst.

    Scroll down for more

    Fighting for justice: Ben's mother Diane Dernie with husband Andy

    After three months in a coma - during which he contracted MRSA during one of many operations - he gradually regained consciousness.

    He could not speak and remembered nothing of the past three years. Today he is making progress but with no legs, a badly disabled left arm and a severely damaged spine, he faces a long and arduous battle.

    He is struggling to learn to speak again and cannot take in liquids by mouth. He faces a year or more in the military rehabilitation centre at Headley Court in Surrey.

    The Armed Forces Compensation Scheme was set up in 2005 to cover payments to men and women injured on duty, replacing the old system of war pensions. Losing all four limbs is a Category 1 injury, earning a £285,000 lump sum.

    But having both legs amputated is in Category 3, worth only £115,000. His brain injury is also in Category 3, but for his second injury he receives only 30 per cent of the maximum - an additional £34,500.

    Finally he receives a meagre £2,650 for severe fractures which rendered his left arm almost useless. None of his other injuries is worth a penny.

    In addition to his lump sum, Ben will receive a pension of around £19,000 a year. But his family believe a far bigger award is crucial to enable him to rebuild a life with some dignity.

    Andrew Buckham, of the law firm Irwin Mitchell, which is representing him, said: "This scheme does not adequately cover the kind of multiple, severe injuries happening to a small number of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan."

    The legal team will seek to persuade High Court judges that the scheme's rules are unfair in the most severe cases, that the "arbitrary" £285,000 upper limit for payouts should be scrapped, and that the scale of compensation should take into account the overall effect of a soldier's wounds, rather than only the three worst injuries.

    Mrs Dernie has so far shunned publicity but she is so angry at the treatment of her son that she has decided to spearhead the campaign and speak publicly.

    "Ben's personality is unchanged and he's still amazingly positive," she said.

    "He is not bitter towards the Army, which he loves. He even hopes to get back into uniform and serve alongside his "airborne brothers". It was all he ever wanted to do. He lived for it.

    "But he is angry at the Government. When we explained the compensation offer he laughed in despair, pointed at his back and made a questioning gesture - "what about my back?"."

    An MoD spokesman said: "The Armed Forced Compensation Scheme scheme is based on modern best practice. But we are keeping it under review in light of experience, particularly the complex injuries currently being sustained on operations, to ensure that it remains focused on the most severely injured."

    How others were given huge payouts
    • RAF typist who injured her thumb at work is awarded £484,000 after suing the Ministry of Defence. The woman developed a repetitive strain injury while typing computer data. She claimed it left her unable to work and caused her to become depressed.

    • Fraudster who has never held down a job receives £248,000 after claiming he fell over in the shower at Wayland Prison, Norfolk. He claims the injury left his legs numb and made him impotent. He later fathers a daughter.

    • Teacher wins £330,000 from Birmingham City Council for her "trauma" after an intruder enters her classroom but does not physically harm her.

    • Prisoner who tried to kill himself at Northallerton Young Offenders' Institution in North Yorkshire is awarded £575,000 from the Prison Service - even though his life was saved by prison officers.

    • Undercover PC who says a tiny radio receiver inserted in her ear caused tinnitus sues the Metropolitan Police and receives £175,000.

    • A total of £750,000 is paid to 197 heroin addicts who had their treatment withdrawn or cut short in prison. They claimed that the "cold turkey" withdrawal treatment they were forced to go through amounted to "torture".
  2. OOps sorry bout that. Still gets my back up though!!
  3. Noted, 'northern_one'. I am pretty sure this story has come up here already, but it is important. I am due to give a TV interview about it.

    PS as yankieloggie rightly says, 'Done already but still an issue'! See his link. Thanks. D.Y. (BAFF)
  4. When, where will it be released. All the best hope you get your chance to give a full and frank opinion off what many serving feel
  5. Grownup_Rafbrat

    Grownup_Rafbrat LE Good Egg (charities)

    There's an article on Radio 4's p.m. Programme imminently. Let's hope MOD sees sense and allows this brave lad to go home to his own bungalow, and live as normal a life as he can.
  6. Hackle : when and what programme? Is the D Mail on side with us on this?

    I'm currently with the US forces and their compensation schemes are not related to any civilain structure but from what I understand they are on a salary related scale. Thus it is entirely possible for a general who has lost an arm to get more than a soldier who has lost all 4 limbs. They are however, paid out as pensions for life in addition to any service earned pension and are not one off sums for compensation. They also get full Veteran association (VA) health care as required for the remainder of their days
  7. £50k to fight this in Court!!!...Lawyers, don't you just love 'em :(
  8. Hackle, please if you get the opportunity raise the issue of the gagging of British troops. This stalinist measure is unprecedented and is designed to censure people who are being asked to risk their lives on a daily basis without decent equipment. There has to be a safety valve for troops to use. Can BAFF legally challenge the ban? In Sweden troops have the right to go to the media if an issue has not been dealt with by the CoC and is life threatening. In particularly, the situation at Selly Oak must not be censured for it is an absolute basic requirement to expect the best medical care when seriously injured in the line of duty.

    I am very concerned that the MoD is trying to silence criticism. The wall to wall coverage in the press in the last few days is a sign that the state of our Armed Forces and the shoddy treatment received by the injured and maimed is becoming a huge issue.

    This is exactly the wrong time to comply with a gagging order.
  9. Grownup_Rafbrat

    Grownup_Rafbrat LE Good Egg (charities)

    It's on now. His parents are most dignified, and are explaining the tariffs and how much of him was injured. Horrific.

    I am humbled by what the lad has suffered already, and so sorry that the people who represent me are treating him so badly.
  10. all noted and v many thanks. I have heard that BBC News 24 may be running interviews with different people on this subject at various times, including around 1930, all subject to change as always. in haste, D
  11. Good luck - and don't hold back! :twisted:
  12. the_boy_syrup

    the_boy_syrup LE Book Reviewer

    Hackle can you point out during your interview:

    All the mother of this badly injured soldier is asking for is the equivillant to couple of weeks footballers wages :x

    Can't the lawyers who helped with the Gurhka VC get on board and help with this one

    Altenatvely can't we do anything?
    I don't earn much but I'l try and chuck £50 in to the fund

    Many posters on here will be thinking there but for the grace of God go I
  13. Mod edit: Freeway, there is a straightforward policy on Arrse which is that we don't discuss the Princes' military careers, any more than we 'name, names' with other members of the Army. See Bad CO's sticky above. If you don't like it, fcuk off.
  14. Following on from Nigeglib's appeal can you also try and squeeze into the interview:

    Separate military hospital wards, equipment for front line troops, welfare support for families with injured troops at Headley Court and Selly Oak, families and single living accommodation, JPA failures, boots, spares for Apache, service voting failures, part time defence secretaries whilst conducting 2 conflicts, broken covenant, homeless veterans oh - and JPA (again), etc etc