Defence Committee inquiry - Forces medical care

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by hackle, May 16, 2007.

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  1. The following press release has been issued today 16 May on behalf of the House of Commons Defence Committee:

    Defence Committee launches web forum on Armed Forces medical care

    Service personnel, their families and healthcare professionals are invited to take part in a web-based forum with Members of the House of Commons Defence Committee at the start of its inquiry into Medical Care for the Armed Forces.

    The aim of the inquiry is to examine the issues related to Service medical care, in order to make recommendations to the Ministry of Defence. The three main areas the Committee will look at are:

    Healthcare for Service personnel, both at home and overseas, and the arrangements for those returning from overseas postings;

    Medical support for operations, including the treatment of injured personnel—from immediate treatment in the theatre of operations to after-care in the UK—and the facilities provided for them;

    How medical services for the Armed Forces are delivered, and in particular how the Ministry of Defence engages with the National Health Service to provide healthcare. The MoD has already entered into some arrangements with NHS providers, and extending these partnerships is one option for the future.

    Chairman of the Defence Committee, the Rt Hon James Arbuthnot MP, says, “We want to get the views of people with direct experience of Armed Forces medical care in order to point us in the right direction in our inquiry into the Defence Medical Services. We hope this forum will help us ask the right questions and generate ideas for recommendations that we can make to the Ministry of Defence.”

    Written evidence will also be taken and oral evidence sessions will be held by the Committee. Details will be announced in due course.

    Anyone who wants to participate in the forum should go to: WEB LINK
  2. The forum will run until 11 June.

    I think this initiative by the cross-party House of Commons Defence Committee deserves wide publicity.

    I've also posted the notice on RumratioN and in the members-only area of the BAFF website. If you are in a position to repeat it more widely on other service-related websites, you are very welcome to do so.
  3. I will post it on Army Aviation now.

    Many thanks for the heads up Hackle
  4. Can you post this on the RAMC forum as well. The more medical staff get involved the better.
    Incidentally they're running a bit late aren't they? This was promised for the beginning of April IIRC.
  5. Done. You are right, radioactiveman, the forum was originally expected to start some time in April. It is clear that the Committee are determined to make a thorough job of the inquiry, but are dependent on the quality and range of the submissions they get from the likes of us!
  6. Done
  7. Cheers Hackle.

    Anyone wanting to post will have to register, which takes 2 mins.

    It is a moderated board, therefore, posts will only appear, if they are "approved" by the forum moderator.

    Whilst I welcome this initiative, I sincerely hope that the moderation policy will also include posts, that are not necessarily "on-message".
  8. Thanks AB2000.

    I can understand their operating an err... moderate moderation policy.

    Any ARRSEr experiencing difficulty can always raise it here. And BAFF members can contact BAFF.
  9. Any concerns on that score warrant an email or letter to James Arbuthnot, Chairman of the Defence Committee. Arbuthnot is a decent sort and reviles any filtering out of "unhelpful" facts. Which is of course just what
    the current Government has done for the past 10 years

    I have been involved with a number of "consultations" and it is clear that posts or submissions do need to be sane, sensible, logical, non abusive and fact driven. In short credible. "Oooo it is a disgrace" type posts just get ignored because they add nothing to the debate.

    Recounting personal experience is extremely valuable but not if it smells of an ill considered rant or non specific general whinge. Set out not just what happened but why, where, how it was/was not dealt with and views on how things could be improved.
  10. Those wishing to post might care to spend a while reading through this report from October 1999, reflect upon the timing and what has happened, or perhaps more accurately what has not happened, since

    Any of the Conclusions sound familiar?



    88. The government's vision for the DMS is for—

    ... a fully manned, trained, equipped, resourced and capable organisation with high morale, capable of providing timely and high quality medical care to the Armed Forces on operations and in peacetime.[192]

    That goal has been unachievable for a decade. This vision cannot be realised at present, and will certainly not be realised for some years into the future. On the evidence we have before us in this inquiry, we consider that it is still possible that it will not be achievable. Under the SDR, a genuine effort has been made to match medical capability to operational requirements.

    It is, however, clear that currently for any situation beyond a 'medium' scale of military effort—and it is not clear to us that this scale of effort is not currently exceeded—the DMS relies on reservists that simply do not exist. It is scandalous that such a situation should have been allowed to come to pass.

    89. We have noted, and commented upon in this Report, the many initiatives which could improve the lot of the DMS. However, these remain plans, not achievements. The effort that is going into turning the DMS around will come to nought if the problems of recruitment, and more pressingly, retention, are not solved. We were told by the Surgeon General that solving these problems 'is going to be a long old haul',[193] and by the Minister for the Armed Forces that 'a lot of these issues cannot be resolved quickly'.[194]

    However, the crucial question is whether or not the DMS can survive for long enough for new measures designed to improve it can have effect. Despite the government's efforts, it may be that changes planned are little more effective in the long term than baling out a leaky boat. Staffing RH Haslar until its closure, bringing the MDHUs to full establishment and establishing a Centre for Defence Medicine would be an enormous challenge—one which we are not convinced the DMS can overcome.

    We are not yet convinced that the MoD has produced a plausible strategy for managing the handover from Haslar to the Centre for Defence Medicine, or indeed that all efforts were made to retain Royal Hospital Haslar with its continuing role in ensuring a strong military ethos and supporting the Defence Medical Services.

    90. However, the most critical problem that faces the MoD is to make effective use of the instruments at its disposal in the new reality where the DMS is now the junior partner in a dependent relationship with the NHS.

    We acknowledge that the 'stand-alone' DMS of the Cold War era is no longer viable given the reduced size of today's armed forces. The culture and objectives of the two organisations are very different. Forging relations between the DMS and the NHS will therefore be crucial to the continuing existence of a separate military medical service. This will require commitment, energy and application to detail from personnel at all levels, including ministerial, in both Departments of State.

    It would not be acceptable in a nation with a National Health Service for that service to be a silent and inactive witness to the collapse of the armed forces' deployable medical support. The situation of the Defence Medical Services continues to deteriorate despite all the efforts, some would argue too many, of defence management to rectify the situation. The nation needs both Departments to work actively together to ensure that potential collapse does not become a reality."
  11. The web address for the forum is a little diffucult just go to to get a clear link.

    I think the message is please write what ever you feel but you are more likely to get a reply from a member if you have given a lucid point, negative or otherwise. The committee certainly aren't after glowing endorsements. Read their report on FRES as an example.

  12. Fair comment Blogg, and I agree that submissions do need to be filtered before final presentation to CDC. I think the experience of the last ten years and Labour's presentation "skills" has led to my view.

    There again, if you are going to offer an open public consultation, would the Commons Defence Committee not be seen to be far more open, if it were to allow all posts made to be seen, and then moderated out the crap?

    Compare this to ARRSE, if 300 people feel strongly enough and are inclined to post on a subject, then they will post, and as one of those people, you are able to see in realtime what is being posted by everyone (except the trolls (well done again SM)), further contribute to how the debate develops and eventually see some firm directions / actions in the debate.

    What the Commons Defence Committee has done in this exercise is effectively to allow only blind posting. Do I suspect that if 90% of the posters contributing to the questions were critical of Selly Oak for example, that it would be reflected in what the moderators deem allowed to be seen? No.

    So, what stops the consultation from allowing all views to be seen, and moderated out, in exactly the same manner that happens on this forum? It seems to be possible here, and unlike ARRSE, the government really does have the resources to do it.

    The eventual outcome of this consultation will be available publically. People posting, will have to wait to see if their specific points have been addressed by the committee. In the meantime, yes, post on there, but be aware that for your post to even be seen, that the moderator will have to allow it into the debate.

    Possibly the moderators might consider publishing what percentage of posts made, actually get posted. As a comparison, I generally see a view rate of about 30 views to each post on threads on ARRSE, compare this to 2 posts and 203 views on the consultancy forum, for a question which is on a site dedicated to this issue and being publicised amongst the very people that would be more likely to post.

    Glad of your comments re, James Arbuthnot, Chairman of the Defence Committee. Arbuthnot is a decent sort, etc. Let's just hope that he is actually going to get all of the facts.

    Edit for mongness - there's a lot of it about! :D
    ...and again, to correct government to CDC - cheers Hackle - they're all organs of State though! :D
  13. Just to clarify that this inquiry is not by the Government, but by the cross-party House of Commons Defence Committee.

    Hopefully BFBS will also be helping to publicise the inquiry. They are usually pretty good about covering such stories.
  14. At least they're not letting any suspect usernames post:

    Attached Files:

  15. I agree, "Tony Blair" is offensive to many.