Casualty figures covered up in Iraq & Afghanistan

#1
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Ministers accused over casualty figures cover-up in Iraq and Afghanistan
Casualty figures are being covered up on two fronts

By MATTHEW HICKLEY

Last updated at 23:35pm on 15th August 2007

Patched up soldiers are sent back out and never recorded as casualties

Ministers are covering up the extent of combat injuries suffered by British troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, it was claimed last night.

Many soldiers are being patched up and sent back to the front line without ever appearing in official casualty reports.

Campaigners insist British troops are paying a much higher price on the battlefield than is being made public.

Their claims came as Ministry of Defence statistics showed deaths and injuries among UK forces have soared over the past year as fighting intensifies in Afghanistan and Iraq.

British Legion accuses Government of 'failing its historic duty of care' toward frontline soldiers

The number of British fatalities per month in Iraq has more than doubled in 2007 compared with last year. Combat deaths per month are up 46 per cent in Afghanistan.

Battlefield casualties needing hospital treatment each month have more than trebled in Iraq and almost trebled in Afghanistan.

But the MoD only counts a soldier as 'wounded' in published figures if he is admitted to the largest UK field hospital in each country.

Serving soldiers claim many combat troops suffer cuts, burns or other injuries and are patched up at forward bases rather than being flown to the main field hospital for surgery or intensive care.

The U.S. issues more comprehensive figures, counting wounded troops as those away from frontline duties for 72 hours or more.

Pentagon casualty reports for Iraq show 27,279 personnel wounded and 3,699 killed by the start of August - a ratio of 7.4 wounded for each fatality.

Yet British figures to the end of July show 164 killed and 267 wounded in action - a ratio of only 1.6 wounded for each fatality.

For Afghanistan the ratio is 3.3 British troops wounded per fatality.

Ministers claimed yesterday UK Army medics were too busy to record accurate figures.

But the gaping discrepancy prompted fierce criticism and demands for greater openness.

Former Army medic Shaun Rusling, chairman of the National Gulf Veterans and Families Association, said: "It's nonsense for the MoD to say the figures aren't collected. Claiming they're not available is quite simply a lie.

"I think the MoD are afraid of the reaction if the public knew the full picture.

"Every time a medic treats somebody it's recorded, all figures are transmitted daily to the UK and commanding officers know exactly how many men they've got fit to fight at all times.

"The public ought to know what troops are enduring, and the price they are paying.

"It looks like a big chunk of the real casualty figures are missing."

Major Charles Heyman, editor of Armed Forces of the UK, questioned the MoD's official figures.

"What we're hearing from the ground in both Iraq and Afghanistan suggest not just a slightly higher figure but a much higher figure," he said.

Conservative MP and former infantry commander Patrick Mercer said: "There is a risk that if these men are not counted properly, they will end up not counting.

"We are talking about men suffering cuts, abrasions, burns but who are patched up and stay in the front line to carry on fighting with their mates, and aren't admitted to hospital."

The MoD claims to have improved the way it gathers and publishes casualty figures.

Asked why the U.S. figures showed such a higher ratio of wounded to fatalities, a spokesman said American forces in Iraq were 'conducting a different style of operation to UK troops'.

Junior defence minister Derek Twigg said yesterday: "We do not record every cut, bruise and minor injury.

"Gathering statistics in operational theatres has to be done carefully and takes time to ensure accuracy. Our medics prefer to spend their time treating people rather than filling in forms."

•A Briton working for a private security company was shot dead in Afghanistan yesterday.

The man, said to have been employed by the Armor-Group firm, died in the capital Kabul.
 
#2
This is a total disgrace ,If the claims are true
 
#4
Hardly a revelation; MOD have been demonstrated to have lied about casualty figures several times before.

Junior defence minister Derek Twigg said yesterday: "We do not record every cut, bruise and minor injury.

"Gathering statistics in operational theatres has to be done carefully and takes time to ensure accuracy. Our medics prefer to spend their time treating people rather than filling in forms."
Is this reptile seriously suggesting that DMS personnel are unprofessional, in that they fail to take a history and maintain patient records, or is this just another example of Twigg talking out of his arrse? This kind of ill-considered, frankly stupid comment simply shows how out of touch the government is.
 
#6
I would think that one of the essential information channels of any commander is that of casualty notification. Its rather like saying the Tesco manager does not keep stock of what is being sold. This remark by Twigg needs challenging
 
#7
Skynet said:
I would think that one of the essential information channels of any commander is that of casualty notification. Its rather like saying the Tesco manager does not keep stock of what is being sold. This remark by Twigg needs challenging
If Twigg was a serving member of HM Forces he would be long overdue a Compulsory Drug Test.

Remember Mr Twigg, the forces respects great leaders and expects much of them. You unfortunately fall woefully short of this requirement.

A question on another topic - could someone ask Mr Browne as a parliamentary question, exactly what proportion of his time he spends looking after the MoD, and what proportion of his time as SoS for scotland.

Given that he's got us in two wars, and the Jocks seeking independance, I would imagine he'll not want to answer either way.
 
#8
Mr Twigg implies that US forces are far more **** in collecting the data, and that this is the reason for their recording a far higher proportion of wounded to dead.

However, if the article is correct, US forces are only recording those wounded who are away from frontline duty for at least 72 hours. That is not nearly as trivial a yardstick as his comments imply.
 
#9
Whilst the MoD has only itself to blame because of previous stances, this article actually seems a little unfair to me.

The MoD are now a whole load more open than they used to be - which is a good think since the previous approach was blatant dissembling.This page provides some reasonable statistics.

All battle injuries resulting in role 3 (ie hospital treatment) are NOTICAS'd, however minor the treatment. DNBI are only NOTICAS'd if listed. Battle injuries treated through first aid are not NOTICAS'd - and I think this must be right; recording every graze or bruise incurred requiring plaster/antiseptic would be both a waste of everyone's time and add little to the picture.

The commander still has his troops so there is no resource issue, and any medical trends can be picked up by the RMO.

I can't reconcile any US/UK differences, but I do think the MoD may have almost got its house in order on this one. Where it is not honest, however, is in releasing details of the severity of injuries. Many of the 'seriously injured' cases reported will result in permanent disability (eg amputations) and details of these are, to my mind, being witheld for reasons other than medical confidentiality.
 
#10
ViroBono said:
"Gathering statistics in operational theatres has to be done carefully and takes time to ensure accuracy. Our medics prefer to spend their time treating people rather than filling in forms."
Great - so when the unfortunate individual try's to claim a War Pension if needed, no proof of the incident will be available. Perhaps that should be pointed out to the half wit Twigg.
 
#11
Totally believable, casualty figures were massaged for Ulster, and probably before and certainly after, whilst the need to record every minor cut or bruise isnt seen to be required, and some Soldiers arent reporting minor 'wounds'. Doesnt take away the fact that more get injured than reported.
 
#12
Has been said by cynics that the high rate of "recorded" wounded in the US Military is not entirely disconnected from the criteria for the award a Purple Heart:

"A wound is defined as an injury to any part of the body from an outside force or agent. A physical lesion is not required, however, the wound for which the award is made must have required treatment by a medical officer and records of medical treatment for wounds or injuries received in action must have been made a matter of official record. "

Equally there is a clear trend for the MoD to gloss over some of the more "trivial" wounds and injuries sustained either by accident or design. Ultimately that does nobody apart from Politicians, any favours at all.
 
#13
ViroBono said:
Hardly a revelation; MOD have been demonstrated to have lied about casualty figures several times before.

Junior defence minister Derek Twigg said yesterday: "We do not record every cut, bruise and minor injury.

"Gathering statistics in operational theatres has to be done carefully and takes time to ensure accuracy. Our medics prefer to spend their time treating people rather than filling in forms."
Is this reptile seriously suggesting that DMS personnel are unprofessional, in that they fail to take a history and maintain patient records, or is this just another example of Twigg talking out of his arrse? This kind of ill-considered, frankly stupid comment simply shows how out of touch the government is.
Well said, VB.........every Medic is instilled to fully record injuries etc and pass the information up the chain, to say this, shows what a total lack of understanding on the situation this half-wit has :evil:
 
#14
Skynet said:
Ministers claimed yesterday UK Army medics were too busy to record accurate figures.
How can they possibly be busy? they have only had to deal with 267 casualties.

This claim is an insult - as mentioned in the article medics record who they treat and why and for what. Additionally examination of each CO's Campaign Diary will give the truest account of who has become a casualty.
 
#15
Solon_of_Athens said:
Skynet said:
Ministers claimed yesterday UK Army medics were too busy to record accurate figures.
How can they possibly be busy? they have only had to deal with 267 casualties.

This claim is an insult - as mentioned in the article medics record who they treat and why and for what. Additionally examination of each CO's Campaign Diary will give the truest account of who has become a casualty.
Exactly, either, there are more than 1.6 casualties per fatality or they're not busy. You can't have it both ways Minister.
 
#16
Dilfor said:
Whilst the MoD has only itself to blame because of previous stances, this article actually seems a little unfair to me.

The MoD are now a whole load more open than they used to be - which is a good think since the previous approach was blatant dissembling.This page provides some reasonable statistics.

All battle injuries resulting in role 3 (ie hospital treatment) are NOTICAS'd, however minor the treatment. DNBI are only NOTICAS'd if listed. Battle injuries treated through first aid are not NOTICAS'd - and I think this must be right; recording every graze or bruise incurred requiring plaster/antiseptic would be both a waste of everyone's time and add little to the picture.

The commander still has his troops so there is no resource issue, and any medical trends can be picked up by the RMO.

I can't reconcile any US/UK differences, but I do think the MoD may have almost got its house in order on this one. Where it is not honest, however, is in releasing details of the severity of injuries. Many of the 'seriously injured' cases reported will result in permanent disability (eg amputations) and details of these are, to my mind, being witheld for reasons other than medical confidentiality.
Whilst noting what you say, I think there are still some cases that need to be reported. For example, on Telic 5 the criteria for admission to the hospital were changed during the 'brown tsunami' of d&v. Instead of being admitted to hospital, patients were treated at their units. Should these (many) cases go unreported? I think not.

Its also worth remembering that this government presides over a mass of H&S legislation, which does require every bruise and graze to be recorded and reported upon. I am not for a minute suggesting that the military on ops should have to conform to what are largely fairly absurd rules anyway, but I think it does highlight the way in which MOD twist things to suit themselves.

I remain incensed by Twigg's remarks, which imply that military medical staff do not carry out their duties properly. I feel a letter to my MP coming on.
 
#17
Full casualty figures for Iraq have so far only been released for the period from 01 January 2006 to date, as the MOD website makes clear. The 267 wounded in action figure is the total for this period only. Shite journalism, shite excuses from the ministers.
 
#18
ViroBono said:
Dilfor said:
Whilst the MoD has only itself to blame because of previous stances, this article actually seems a little unfair to me.

The MoD are now a whole load more open than they used to be - which is a good think since the previous approach was blatant dissembling.This page provides some reasonable statistics.

All battle injuries resulting in role 3 (ie hospital treatment) are NOTICAS'd, however minor the treatment. DNBI are only NOTICAS'd if listed. Battle injuries treated through first aid are not NOTICAS'd - and I think this must be right; recording every graze or bruise incurred requiring plaster/antiseptic would be both a waste of everyone's time and add little to the picture.

The commander still has his troops so there is no resource issue, and any medical trends can be picked up by the RMO.

I can't reconcile any US/UK differences, but I do think the MoD may have almost got its house in order on this one. Where it is not honest, however, is in releasing details of the severity of injuries. Many of the 'seriously injured' cases reported will result in permanent disability (eg amputations) and details of these are, to my mind, being witheld for reasons other than medical confidentiality.
Whilst noting what you say, I think there are still some cases that need to be reported. For example, on Telic 5 the criteria for admission to the hospital were changed during the 'brown tsunami' of d&v. Instead of being admitted to hospital, patients were treated at their units. Should these (many) cases go unreported? I think not.

Unreported in what sense? They will, of course, be reported through the J4 med chain for medical/EH purposes, but they wouldn't give rise to J1 NOTICAS action whether hospitalised or not (unless listed). I don't think D&V is hugely relevant to the public interest, unless resulting in serious illness or significantly harming operational effectiveness. (Out of interest, was this at the beginning of TELIC 5 or later in that tour? ISTR a significant outbreak at the beginning amongst 4 Armd Bde which was blamed on contagions being spread on a flight from Germany.)

Its also worth remembering that this government presides over a mass of H&S legislation, which does require every bruise and graze to be recorded and reported upon. I am not for a minute suggesting that the military on ops should have to conform to what are largely fairly absurd rules anyway, but I think it does highlight the way in which MOD twist things to suit themselves.

I know what you are saying, but I suppose I am just grateful that the military is still a little more robust in these matters. Filling in forms at a FOB for, say, a shallow cut to the arm resulting from a small piece of fragmentation is not, in my opinion, an act of war.

I remain incensed by Twigg's remarks, which imply that military medical staff do not carry out their duties properly. I feel a letter to my MP coming on.

Bearing in mind the obfuscation to date, and the seriousness of the topic, I too find his manner pretty poor. Write away!.
Regards

Dilf
 
#19
ViroBono said:
Whilst noting what you say, I think there are still some cases that need to be reported. For example, on Telic 5 the criteria for admission to the hospital were changed during the 'brown tsunami' of d&v. Instead of being admitted to hospital, patients were treated at their units. Should these (many) cases go unreported? I think not.

Unreported in what sense? They will, of course, be reported through the J4 med chain for medical/EH purposes, but they wouldn't give rise to J1 NOTICAS action whether hospitalised or not (unless listed). I don't think D&V is hugely relevant to the public interest, unless resulting in serious illness or significantly harming operational effectiveness. (Out of interest, was this at the beginning of TELIC 5 or later in that tour? ISTR a significant outbreak at the beginning amongst 4 Armd Bde which was blamed on contagions being spread on a flight from Germany.)
We clearly agree on the main issues.

My point is that a soldier who is unable to function for 3-5 days for a DNBI reason such as D&V should be seen as being as much a part of the overall casualty statistics as all the others, whether or not NOTICAS action was taken or if he was admitted to a Role 3 facility or not. If this doesn't happen, then we (and the public) aren't seeing the full picture. This may seem to be semantics, but I think MOD are playing a game of picking and choosing which bits of the stats to put out, when there should be total transparency.

The D&V outbreak was around 6 weeks before the end of the tour; not sure what the cause was found to be.
 

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