Armed Forces Suffer Shortage of Medics, MoD admits

#1
UK forces suffer medic shortages

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has admitted to a shortage of medics in the armed forces and says it is taking "active steps" to address the problem.

The number of fully qualified officers was 42% below required levels and there was a 21% shortfall in nurses, it said.

The Liberal Democrats said the figures were "deeply disturbing" and the Conservatives were "horrified".

But the MoD said there was "no question" of UK forces being sent to fight without proper medical support.

Defence minister Kevan Jones said the required number of medical officers in the Defence Medical Service was 818, but the trained strength was just 476.

'Enormous strain'


There were also 1,500 nurses when 1,900 were required, the latest figures, from last October, showed.

When it came to medical support services personnel, including paramedics, there was a shortfall of more than 200 - 3,882 against the required 4,083.

Former Lib Dem leader Sir Menzies Campbell, who obtained the statistics, said the 42% shortage of medical officers was deeply disturbing and placed "enormous strain" on those in service.

"Medical overstretch is just as damaging as infantry overstretch," he said.

"When we send young men and women into circumstances where they are at risk of life and limb, we owe it to them to provide the best medical cover."

Shadow Defence Secretary Liam Fox added: "It is horrifying that they are so short-staffed when medical staff are needed more than ever."

An MoD spokesman said: "There is no question of British forces deploying on military operations without the appropriate medical support.

"However, we acknowledge that manpower shortages remain a problem.

"We are taking active steps to address the shortfalls, including the use of reservists and recruitment incentives, as well as prioritising resources to support operations."

Meanwhile, two British servicemen have been killed in Afghanistan in the last 24 hours, taking the number of UK personnel killed in the conflict to 265.

Neither of the latest two deaths were linked to Operation Moshtarak - the joint UK, US and Afghan assault on insurgent strongholds.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/uk_news/8537550.stm

Published: 2010/02/25 18:28:47 GMT

© BBC MMX
 
#2
JoeCivvie said:
UK forces suffer medic shortages

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has admitted to a shortage of medics in the armed forces and says it is taking "active steps" to address the problem.

The number of fully qualified officers was 42% below required levels and there was a 21% shortfall in nurses, it said.
They're a bit late in taking "active steps", did they not recognise the problem when it was 5% below the required level?
 

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