Army threw out 259 medically unfit soldiers, admits minister


Army threw out 259 medically unfit soldiers, admits minister
By Michael Smith, Defence Correspondent
(Filed: 25/05/2004)

The MoD has admitted that hundreds of medically unfit soldiers were thrown out of the Army rather than being given medical discharges, in apparent contravention of its own rules.

The admission came in a written answer from Adam Ingram, the Armed Forces minister, who said 259 soldiers who were medically downgraded to a point where they could no longer carry out their roles had been sacked since 1997.

A number of the medically unfit soldiers were sacked under the "manning control" system that allowed the Army to get rid of soldiers it did not want after 12 years of service.

It was used to get rid of hundreds of soldiers who had done nothing wrong, in an apparent attempt to ensure they did not serve the 22 years that would qualify them for an immediate pension.

Soldiers who serve for 22 years are entitled to an immediate pension on discharge, a scheme that the Army is trying to scale down in order to cut costs.

Mr Ingram's response to a question from Paul Keetch, the Liberal Democrat defence spokesman, makes clear that the Army is now using a different system to sack soldiers and cut pensions costs.

It has sacked more than 200 soldiers who should have been medically discharged using a system known as Paragraph 9.414, after its position in Queen's Regulations, the rules on how the Army is administered.

Soldiers who are medically discharged receive significantly larger pensions and allowances than someone who is medically unfit but is sacked using manning control or Paragraph 9.414.

A corporal who is medically discharged currently receives £15,117 a year in pension payments. A corporal who is medically unfit but is sacked would receive a maximum of £2,292.

The MoD said: "Soldiers who are discharged under Queen's Regulations 9.414 will have been discharged as a result of disciplinary failings. It has nothing whatsoever to do with pension commitments."

But Paragraph 9.414 specifically rules out its use to get rid of soldiers who have been medically downgraded or who have been guilty of disciplinary failings.

It states: "This paragraph will not be used for compassionate reasons, loss of efficiency, indebtedness, indiscipline, misconduct or medical unfitness."

The Army is facing a class action by hundreds of former soldiers alleging that they were sacked under the manning control system to stop them attaining the length of service that would have entitled them to an immediate pension.

Mr Keetch said: "The MoD may claim that soldiers kicked out are not discharged for medical reasons, but why is it that so many of those being forced out are medically unfit? There must be a very good reason for denying a soldier a medical discharge. If a soldier has sustained an injury as a result of service we have a duty to look after him or her.

"Many soldiers feel hard done by. The MoD must be able to show that these soldiers were sacked for legitimate reasons, or else provide them with a proper medical pension."

The MoD said it was unable to provide definite reasons of discharge for all those soldiers identified in Mr Ingram's response because of the cost.

17 January 2004: Hoon hit by second tragic blunder over kit for Iraq
I doubt it will stop there. They will continue to make manning cuts when and where they can.

Very sad in todays operational climate.
If it saves money, Im sure they can live the embarresment, infact how much can they get away with in the end blaming an outgoing government ?
We have had a few people discharged under this new system. Basically if you have more than 4 years to serve (but this could go up) and medically downgraded with little chance of being upgraded, then it is cheaper to medically discharge you than to keep you in. The calculations also include the increase in operational manning and the possibility of promoting somebody to the open position. But saying than I have just seen one downgraded SSgt Sup Con kicked out and and another posted on promotion with just one CR in rank. :?
kennys-go-nad said:
Not sure it will save money in the long run, litigation cases cost the earth these days just to present the case will cost the MOD more cash than it would have had to fork out if they done the right thing by the soldiers in the place:roll:
It does save money in the short term though, which is unfortunately all that the fools doing it care about. By the time the full cost becomes apparent those responsible will have moved on and the consequences of their actions wil never catch up with them.

After all, we now have more civil servants in the MOD than soldiers in the Army - got to pay for them somehow. They're there to look after themselves and not the forces.

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