Ghurka MC - Denied Free Visa to get Medical Treatment in UK

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by diplomat, Sep 1, 2008.

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  1. diplomat

    diplomat War Hero Book Reviewer

    My apologies if this has already been posted somewhere else on ARRSE.

    I can not believe the stupidity and idiocy present in the UK Embassy Visa Office in Nepal. Particularly after the campaign for Pun VC!

    Full story follows:

    The loyal Gurkha who's been refused medical treatment in Britain... because he can't afford the £500 visa fee

    By Vanessa Allen
    Last updated at 11:30 PM on 31st August 2008

    He served Britain loyally for 24 years as a solder in the Gurkhas, and was awarded the Military Cross by Prince Philip.

    He was also chosen to meet the Queen when she visited Nepal in 1986 because of his exemplary record.

    But now, in his hour of need, Britain has turned its back on 81-year-old Lalit Bahadur Gurung.

    Gurkha Lalit Gurung lies bed-ridden at his home in Nepal and cannot get medical treatment in Britain because he can't afford the £500 visa fee

    After a massive stroke left the retired Army Captain paralysed, he has been prevented from coming here for medical treatment because he cannot afford the £500 visa fee.

    Mr Gurung's son carried him to see British officials in Kathmandu . But they said they could not consider his request to waive the visa fee unless he was officially declared destitute. Lawyers for the former Queen's Gurkha Officer are now seeking a judicial review of that decision on compassionate grounds.

    Mr Gurung's case is the latest to be taken on by campaigners who believe that Britain has betrayed its most loyal soldiers, who risked their lives for a country many had never even seen.

    There is mounting public anger that the Gurkhas, who have served alongside British troops since 1815 and won 26 Victoria Crosses, are denied the rights given to their British counterparts, and even to thousands of migrants every year.

    Mr Gurung, who lives in the remote Nepalese town of Pokhara, joined the Gurkhas on his 18th birthday in 1944 and served in India and Singapore during the Malayan Emergency uprising.

    In 1964 he was presented with the Military Cross, Britain's third highest military honour, for his bravery in fighting insurgents in Borneo and Brunei.

    He said: 'The thought that my British colleagues appreciated my actions enough to award me a gallantry medal still moves me to tears. I was overjoyed that Prince Philip flew to meet me and the other troops, and that he would take the time to care about us.'

    Captain Lalit Gurung wears his medals with pride and, right, accepting his Military Cross from Prince Philip in 1964

    In July 1996 Mr Gurung had a stroke and was in hospital for more than three months. Nepal has no free health service and his treatment cost him 300,000 rupees - £2,300 - virtually his entire life savings. He is now paralysed down his left side and also has heart disease and diabetes, and his sight is failing.

    In a country where the average annual income is around £100 his family cannot afford to pay for further care and his doctors say he would get better medical treatment in Britain.

    He receives a Gurkha pension but it is not enough to support him, his wife and their dependent children and grandchildren, and to pay for his medical treatment. But it is enough to mean he is not officially destitute.

    Lawyer Kieran O'Rourke, who represents Mr Gurung, said the case could set a legal precedent for hundreds of other sick Gurkhas who were unable to afford the visa application fee.

    'Hundreds of brave soldiers are living in poverty in Nepal despite years of extraordinary service for the British Army,' he said.

    Earlier this year thousands of Gurkha veterans marched on Parliament and handed back their military medals in protest at their 'betrayal'.

    They are demanding an end to the 'immoral discrimination' which bars retired Gurkhas from taking British citizenship if they left service before 1997, and gives them only a sixth of the pension of their British counterparts.

    A test case is due in the High Court later this month.
  2. Maybe its time the government was confronted about this and the best way is by current and ex serving soldiers sending a petition to downing street.
    By the way just out of interest, are any of these chaps entitled to any other military charities? army benevelanr fund / poppy apeal? not necessarily for this cause but just in general, just wondering if any funds ever reach those guys.
  3. To say that what we, the British, are doing to these poor heroes is a disgrace falls so far short of the mark as to be risible.
    It is about time that the Government properly funded a veterans hospital in Nepal to look after these people in situ. I'm sure the costs of running a hospital over there would be considerably less than in the UK and patients would not need to be separated from their families and have to fly halfway round the world to get treatment.
    However, since the same Government does absolutely nothing for our indigenous veterans the chances of doing it for Gurkhas are nonexistent.
  4. Slightly picky but I think Prince Philip may have presented him with the MC rather than actually awarded him with it.

    It is outrageous but its the same for everyone, I did 23 years, discharged last year, needed medical treatment that had begun 18 months earlier to continue and was told I would have to pay for my own transport to get to the appointments, round trip cost of £250 a go.
  5. Did you not ask for your treatment to be transferred to your own health authority? You would still have to pay for your own transport as you have sufficient funds (Service pension) but the costs involved would be a lot less.
  6. Right - I will drive the outrage wagon on this one! These barstewards in the Embassy in Nepal must have as part of their job descriptions the requirement to feck over anybody who has actually served with the Ghurkhas!

    Diplomat did you send a Rudagramme to these idiots in Nepal and is Kieran doing another fix bayonets and charge at these feckers? If so - I am good for 50 sovs :evil:
  7. I'm good for a few quid, where does he need it to go?

    Loyalty cuts both ways. Something our lords and masters would do well to remember, before it's too late.
  8. Oh thats a good one :D Two way loyalty from politicos - I have to go to the loo as I am about to wee myself laughing :( Those scumbags would not recognize loyalty if it stood in their in-trays!
  9. RP578

    RP578 LE Book Reviewer

    The British Military Hospital in Dharan was handed over to the Nepalese Government in 1990-ish. The Gurkha Welfare Scheme's Area Welfare Centres (AWC) each have a trained medic and I believe there is now a Key Hospital scheme up and running.
  10. Should I have to use my service pension to pay to travel for treatment that should have been sorted prior to my discharge? I left in November and have already had 8 appointments. Afterall you should not be discharged without a definative treatment path, I however was discharged even though I expressed my concern at both my pre-release and final medicals, treatment stopped the day I left, I had to fight to actually get my treatment continued. Local authority does not deal with the type of treatment I was receiving.
    This gurkha has his work cut out! Hopefully the outrage bus will generate enough public interest to get him sorted.
  11. I read this story this morning makes me sick, why does this Government go out of it's way to try and get suspect terrorists back who have ended up in Cuba when they were 'Innocently on a fact finding mission in Afghanistan'
    Then we have people who have given their loyalty to this Country ultiminatley been told to 'Piss Off'
  12. I've jumped on the Dailymail outrage wagon and added my comment.
  13. Thank you for enlightening me, I was aware that there was some form of (I believe charitable rather than HMG funded) medical assistance which is why I said properly funded, perhaps I should have said fully funded. Either way what we do obviously falls short of the mark and means that old warriors have to be uprooted from their nearest and dearest and fly halfway round the world to be grudginly treated by a not-so-grateful nation and even, in the case of Pun VC, being accused of 'fiddling' the system.
  14. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    Get a fully funded hospital, something we dont get as serving or as veterans, best let them come over here, they at least will take something home again, (MRSA or C Diff).
  15. diplomat

    diplomat War Hero Book Reviewer

    What worries me is that when he has the £500 to apply for a Visa those idiots in the UK Embassy Nepal may reject it anyway!!!

    Does anyone have a contact number for Keiron O'Rourke as I have lost it since the Pun VC campaign. I think that Kieron should be consulted before any anonymous donations for Mr Gurung MC's visa application, as that may impact on the case that Kieron seems to be taking to the High Court.