Observer - Scandal of treatment for wounded Iraq veterans

#1
http://observer.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,,2031200,00.html

Scandal of treatment for wounded Iraq veterans

· Soldiers 'denied proper hospital care'
· Letters reveal anguish of families

Ned Temko and Mark Townsend
Sunday March 11, 2007
The Observer

A shocking picture of neglect and the appalling treatment of wounded British troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan emerged last night in a remarkable series of letters from soldiers' families obtained by The Observer.
The sheaf of complaints, passed on by deeply alarmed senior military sources, claims that soldiers have been deprived of adequate pain relief and emotional support, and in some cases are unable to sleep because of night time noise in the NHS facilities caring for them.

The NHS last night said that it had launched an inquiry into the complaints.
One letter sent to the MoD and NHS managers reveals how the youngest British soldier wounded in Iraq, Jamie Cooper, was forced to spend a night lying in his own faeces after staff at Birmingham's Selly Oak Hospital allowed his colostomy bag to overflow. On another occasion his medical air mattress was allowed to deflate, leaving him in 'considerable pain' overnight despite an alarm going off.

Another complaint alleges that one serviceman suffered more than 14 hours in agony without pain relief because no relevant staff were on duty. Others claim that supplies of pain relief have run out on wards where injured troops are being cared for, and that in one instance a geriatric patient tried to climb into an injured soldier's bed by mistake.

Months after the row over mixed military-civilian wards, the new revelations open potentially more serious allegations concerning the level of treatment being provided to seriously injured troops. The revelations also follow the recent scandal surrounding conditions at the Americans' flagship domestic military hospital, the Walter Reed Army Medical Centre in Washington, which prompted President George Bush to order a review of the nation's military hospitals.

Details of the complaints regarding British soldiers' care last night provoked shock and indignation both from Opposition politicians and senior military figures. Tony Blair's long-time Chief of Defence Staff, Lord Guthrie, said the letters revealed a 'scandalous' failure of care which the government and the military had an 'urgent' duty to fix. In remarks that will be seen as particularly damning given his personal friendship with the Prime Minister, Guthrie added: 'The handling of the medical casualties from both Afghanistan and Iraq is a scandal.'

He said the blame did not lie with NHS staff, but with a 'lack of leadership and drive' by senior military medical officers and government ministers in addressing the need to provide purely military-run care for at least the most serious casualties. Guthrie said that Blair and other senior figures who had visited Selly Oak had been misled about the level of care currently being provided. 'They were presented with a whitewashed version,' he said. Top military and political leaders, Guthrie added, 'seem more interested in finding excuses for why things are not good than in correcting them'.

The Tory shadow defence spokesman, Liam Fox, accused the government of 'an act of betrayal against our bravest soldiers'. Fox will raise the issue in the Commons this week and seek an urgent reply from defence secretary, Des Browne, on each of the cases raised in the letters.

Sue Freeth, welfare director for the Royal British Legion, which has 600,000 members, revealed they had, for the first time in its 86-year history, put forward a motion questioning medical treatment for troops. She said: 'We are very concerned about treatment. We know that the MoD policy department are trying to address it but some of the areas are beyond their control.'

The complaints include an impassioned protest from the parents of Cooper, 18, the youngest British soldier injured in Iraq, detailing a series of alleged lapses in his care at Selly Oak. Their son, the letter concludes, had been 'sent to Iraq straight from training with no real military knowledge and [is] not receiving the care and attention that is needed for his recovery.'

A letter from the mother of another soldier treated at Selly Oak, corporal Alex Weldon, speaks of 'grubby' surroundings, unbearable noise levels and inadequate visiting facilities and concludes: 'Surely the rest of us - family members, military personnel or hospital staff and authorities, have a duty of care to these brave men and women.'

A further five-page document is from Weldon himself, written on behalf of a number of wounded soldiers on the ward after having thought 'long and hard' about doing so. It complains of repeated failures to give adequate and timely pain relief and insensitive comments by consultants.

Another letter is a handwritten plea for help sent last week from the mother of 22-year-old Ben Parkinson, who was injured in Afghanistan. It accuses the military of breaking a promise to give him a place in military rehabilitation facility at Headley Court in Surrey. She says both she and her husband have now had to abandoned work in order to care for their son at the London area civilian hospital where he has been sent.

'Goalposts are moved constantly,' the letter says, adding that they have been told that assurances of access to treatment at Headley Court - including a brochure still being handed out to arriving casualties at Selly Oak - are 'out of date.' 'Ben fought in the war in Iraq at age 18, he covered [during] the firemen's strike, served for seven months in Kosovo... and then fought in the "never-a-shot-be-fired" war in Afghanistan,' his mother protests. 'He undertook "P" company seven times, such was his determination to be a para. Surely he has earned the right to a military rehab.'

An MoD spokesman said: 'The decision to care for military patients within specialist NHS units was driven by medical advice - the severity and complexity of modern military injuries requires immediate access to the highest levels of specialist medial and nursing care, which can only be found in a few large hospital complexes in the UK, such as Birmingham.'

A spokesman for University Hospital Birmingham Trust, which includes Selly Oak, said: 'While we can not comment on individual cases the type of injuries that soldiers sustain and that we treat are very complex - therefore their pain control is very complex.
 
#2
My opinion - wounded soldiers should not be treated on the NHS and should be treated in private military hospitals funded wholly by the MoD.

:threaten:

http://observer.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,,2031205,00.html

The fresh agonies of our returning soldiers

They served their country in Iraq and received terrible injuries. Now back in hospital in Britain, an appalling picture of their treatment has been uncovered by an Observer investigation into a growing scandal

Mark Townsend and Ned Temko
Sunday March 11, 2007
The Observer

Jamie Cooper begged for his colostomy bag to be emptied. In all, he asked three nurses. One said she had no idea how to help. Another promised to pass on his request. His parents watched the plight of their wounded soldier. He may as well have begged for his dignity.
Cooper had served, and nearly died for, his country. Shrapnel had sliced through his stomach after a mortar attack in Basra last November. He remains the youngest British serviceman wounded in Iraq. Now the 18-year-old was struggling to have his faeces removed at the Birmingham hospital that treats the most seriously wounded from Iraq and Afghanistan. Finally his parents could take no more: they emptied the bag themselves.

'We went to the store room, helped ourselves to the necessary equipment and proceeded to clean out the colostomy bag - a task too onerous for staff,' Phillip and Caroline Cooper wrote in a letter last month to senior military leaders and NHS staff, which has been obtained by The Observer.
The Royal Green Jacket rifleman remains at Selly Oak Hospital, the sprawling NHS complex in south Birmingham where the most serious of Britain's returning wounded are treated. The lucky ones arrive at ward S4, where nurses attend to two six-bed bays in a 'military-managed' unit. Some are treated alongside civilians, removed from the camaraderie of wounded colleagues. Six months after the heated row over the suitability of placing wounded troops in mixed-civilian wards, Selly Oak is facing far more serious allegations. Letters obtained by The Observer have been called into question the treatment afforded to Britain's injured troops. The claims have provoked fresh consternation over how Britain treats its war-wounded and uncomfortable questions for a government embroiled in two bloody conflicts.

Weeks after the scandal surrounding shoddy conditions at America's flagship military hospital, the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, the British government faces its own crisis over a hospital where hundreds of wounded service personnel have arrived since the Iraq invasion four years ago.

An extraordinary sheaf of letters sent to the Ministry of Defence and the NHS and passed on by military sources to The Observer chronicles a series of alleged failings in basic care and services given to UK soldiers. Among them are claims that troops have been denied pain relief after wards ran out of supplies. On one occasion, wounded soldiers were allegedly forced to wait more than 12 hours for pain-relieving medication.

One letter of complaint from anxious parents, dated 24 February, suggests that wounded soldiers may be suffering more than is necessary in Selly Oak.

The operation on their son finished at 8pm and left their son in 'acute agony'. His ordeal had only just begun.

'The pain team is only on duty 9am to 5pm and it was only at 10.30am the next day that his pain was addressed. Presumably the call-out is too expensive,' wrote one couple from Oxfordshire.

In separate correspondence, Alex Wheldon of 45 Commando Royal Marines claims that his pain relief in Selly Oak 'arrived two-and-a-half hours late' and even then was incomplete. Another 45 minutes passed before the corporal received his designated dosage.

Other letters suggest soldiers may have received the wrong tablets. On another, 12-hour pain-relief tablets were not issued because supplies were exhausted. Wheldon, who spent weeks in ward S4 earlier this year after being shot fighting the Taliban, describes a fellow soldier from Afghanistan in such agony on the ward that it 'brought tears to his eyes'. Wheldon alleges that hospital staff implied the soldier's suffering was imaginary. 'Certain staff seemed to think it was a psychological problem and made him go and speak to a 'shrink. But it was physical,' he adds.

Cooper, too, is alleged to have suffered pain and humiliation during his treatment. In one instance, four days before last Christmas, the teenager was denied pain-relief because of a lack of qualified trained staff, according to the letter from his parents.

Though help was eventually forthcoming, they say, the problems remained. 'When they [the pills] were administered, Jamie was given the wrong tablets,' his parents wrote. The family, from Bristol, says that, during their son's stay in Selly Oak, his colostomy bag was twice allowed to overflow. During the night of 29 November, he was forced to lie in his faeces. His wounds, according to his parents' testimony, actually worsened following his life-saving operation, the pressure sores on his heel deteriorating so much that he required skin-grafts.

Twenty days from now, the last of Britain's military hospitals will close. Little more than a decade ago, Britain had eight such institutions. During the First World War, there were 20, with at least 9,200 beds reserved for soldiers.

'We will be the only country in the civilised world without a dedicated military hospital', said Hampshire councillor Peter Edgar, who is campaigning against the imminent closure of the Royal Naval Hospital Haslar in Gosport.

The withdrawal of MoD funding comes as casualties steadily mount in Afghanistan and Iraq. Four British soldiers have been killed in Helmand in the past eight days. So far, more than 5,500 wounded have been airlifted back to Britain for treatment.

About 800 are understood to have passed through Selly Oak. Wheldon had seen enough after three weeks in ward S4. His complaints, written during his stay at the hospital, are not merely his own. His detailed litany of concerns are echoed by 'every' other patient soldier he met at Selly Oak, headquarters of the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine.

All were exhausted during their time at the hospital. Wheldon managed a maximum of four hours' sleep because of the incessant clattering of bins and trolleys by auxiliary nurses and civilian staff throughout the night. The repercussions, wrote the corporal, were more damaging than simply a lack of rest.

'The military men from Afghanistan and Iraq jump with shock,' Wheldon said. 'A sudden crash or bang goes through you, especially for us who have been mortared or been under heavy fire. It is a subconscious reaction which isn't very pleasant.'

Wheldon describes how an army sergeant once almost leapt out of his bed with fright. It is indicative, he writes, of a perceived lack of respect and understanding by the NHS towards armed forces families in Selly Oak. 'An army patient in my bay, a casualty from Iraq, had not seen his wife or baby son for five months. They were due to arrive, after a four-hour journey, earlier than the visiting time allows. He was told they would have to wait until the designated time.'

Wheldon's mother also complained of shabby treatment. Her letter, dated 16 February, claims that the visitor room for military families 'appears to be more of a store room for large equipment' and that it was so cramped 'there is not really enough room for more than one family'. And it was grubby, she notes: 'Could it not be cleaner? The overall impression I have got is one of untidiness and grubbiness on the ward'.

Cooper contracted MRSA twice while he was in Selly Oak. His parents were left in little doubt that 'there is a need to reinforce simple measures in hygiene'. Yet, still no one knows how many British troops have caught the infection after returning to Britain. The MoD, in a parliamentary answer last week, explains that no central figures are available.

Food given to wounded troops is also described as inadequate in the letters. On arriving at Selly Oak, Wheldon was told that a decent diet would promote healing. He writes of 'stale sandwiches' and being forced to buy his own meals at the hospital canteen. Some issues seem easily avoidable. Wheldon describes how one soldier was told by a Selly Oak consultant before an operation that 'his military career could be over'. He adds: 'A simple sentence like that, can, and did, have a profound effect on the man's mental state.'

Perhaps Wheldon could count himself fortunate in one respect. At least he had comrades for company. Cooper's misery was compounded by his isolation in a room with no television or radio for distraction. 'We would, if possible, have taken our son into private care. However, if we had done so, then he would have been classed as AWOL,' his parents wrote.

Sometimes, though, company can prove troublesome. The Oxfordshire parents describe how their son was rudely disturbed one night in Selly Oak. 'It is outrageous that an injured soldier should be disturbed at night by a disorientated geriatric trying to get into his bed in error.'

Isolation can sap a soldier's spirit. In a letter dated 5 March to Prince Charles and senior commanders, a parent from Doncaster claims that her son is suffering after being sent to an NHS hospital in Putney, rather than the military's rehabilitation centre.

The woman recently gave up her career to look after her seriously wounded 22-year-old son, who is in 7 Parachute Regiment, Royal Horse Artillery. 'Surely there is a place at Headley Court [a specialist military treatment centre] for a boy such as Ben, who has sacrificed so much for his country?'

Wheldon received a reply from the head of the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine on 22 February. It admits that 'many of the matters you raise are known' and said they would be investigated.

Days earlier, the Coopers received a response. A formal investigation is under way into their complaints. 'Your son will never be just another statistic to RCDM,' they were assured.

Some remain unconvinced. As Wheldon concludes: 'We've just spent four months fighting in the chaos of another world, where every day you risk losing your life at any moment. There's no way we would ever ask for sympathy; that is not our style. All we ask for is understanding'.

The letter from Jamie Cooper's parents:

To Miss Julie Moore
C.E.O NHS Trust
Selly Oak Hospital
Birmingham

Dear Madam,


It is with regret that we find ourselves having to write to you in regards to our son Jamie Cooper, who is a patient at Selly Oak Hospital and has been for over two months. Jamie is a serving member of Her Majesty's Forces and was the victim of a double mortar attack whilst serving in Iraq. By the grace of God and the work of an excellent Surgeon our son's life was saved. Thus to the significance of this letter. Since our son's return we have had a catalogue of errors in regards to Jamie's ongoing care. We detail the problems below:

1.29 November 2006 at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Jamie's colostomy bag was allowed to overflow.

2.1 December 2006 Jamie was moved to Selly Oak. He was placed with dementia patients. The duty nurse administered drugs via a syringe into Jamie's abdomen using water to dissolve tablets. This water was taken from his own drinking mug instead of using clean sterilized water.

3.4 December 2006 His colostomy bag was allowed to overflow once again.

4.6 December 2006 An inflatable pressure mattress deflated leaving Jamie in considerable pain.

5.Mid-December Jamie developed a pressure sore on the heel of his left foot. Nerve pain relief tablets were not given on schedule.

6.21 December 2006 Pain relief tablets were not administered due to lack of qualified trained staff on the ward.

7.29 December 2006 The family were informed that Jamie had MRSA.

8.8 January 2007 The pressure sore on Jamie's heel had reached a point where the wound had become so deep it had to be skin grafted.

9.1 February 2007 We were informed that the MRSA had now spread.

10.10 February 2007 Jamie asked that his colostomy bag be emptied. The bag was not emptied. Two other members of staff were asked to do this for him, one said that she did not know how to perform this task. The bag was not emptied. We decided to do the job ourselves.

Taking these events into consideration, we do not feel confident about the care that Selly Oak can offer a serving soldier. All servicemen and Women should receive first class care if injured whilst carrying out their duty at the behest of the country's leaders. All that we are parents want, as any parent would, is for our son to be given the treatment he deserves.

Yours faithfully,
Mr and Mrs P.D.Cooper
 
#3
Agreed, we should - in a ideal world - have private MoD hospitals for our wounded. But the logistics are horrific. How would we maintain sufficient hospital facilities, with appropriate staffing, during the quiet times, so as to sure we have the necessary hospital capability when we are at war?

On the premise that we all want the very best surgeons, doctors and nurses for our wounded, we have to go where they are, and that - for all its manifold shortcomings - simply means the NHS.

It's interesting to see this Observer article in the wider context - especially the USA, where it is becoming a national disgrace of very significant political dimensions. See : http://www.armytimes.com/news/2007/03/online_reedarchive_070302/
 
#4
Now't personal Caubeen, I know it costs money, lots of it and yes the logistics will be terrible but All UK Governments have the RIGHT to order TOM into action where he risks his life and limbs.
By such authority, All UK governments have a DUTY to see that the wounded receive above normal care and treatment on their return.
john
 
#5
I read the articles and letters above with a growing sense of immense anger. I served 11 years and I have a brother still serving. If either of us had been injured on one of the many operational tours that we undertook on the orders of our "Dear Leader" I would have expected prompt and excellent medical attention in order to return to full health and operational effectiveness.

The level of care described above falls below that which I receive when I sprain my ankle in southern Poland or eastern Ukraine.

It is disgusting and a true betrayal of the covenant that exists between soldier and State. Will anyone be sacked? Will anyone be disciplined? Will anyone from the NHS even give a damn? I thank God that I am now out of the mob and have private health insurance. For most young people (under the age of 35) great health cover is available for 2,500-3,500 GBP per annum. Maybe something to spend your "tax rebate" on? (that or club together and hire an assasin to slot the lying cnut BLiar).
 
#6
On the subject of military hospitals: the UK should have between 8-15 of the buggers. What to do in times of peace? Easy: accept dirty chav cnuts and civvies. As the pressure of war increases, more and more wards become pure military, and then when one hospital is 100% full then the next starts off-loading oxygen thieves and starts taking service personnel. That way the staff of all the hospitals stay current in their skills, and the NHS is protected from such fcuk-ups that is Selly Oak.
 
#7
MrPVRd said:
My opinion - wounded soldiers should not be treated on the NHS and should be treated in private military hospitals funded wholly by the MoD.
The MoD is currently struggling to feed troops deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq. gov.uk spends more feeding prison inmates than it does feeding either service personnel or school children. Given that fact, what do you think are the chances that a shiny new military hospital will be built?

Regarding comments about the treatment of patients - welcome to the NHS. Complaining to hospital's management serves no purpose. The response will be a standard letter stating that the hospital trust is 'committed to addressing the issues'raised by the Coopers and pointing out that the NHS is an equal opportunities employer. In fact, Jamie Cooper's parents should be careful about what they put in writing. If they complain too much they may find themselves or their son accused of racism.

The real power in hospitals is held by consultant grade doctors who are legally responsible for patient care. While hospital management are held in contempt by many doctors and nurses, consultants can and do put the fear of god into their subordinates. In my experience, bringing subtle pressure to bear on a patient's consultant often achieves the best results. Document absolutelty everything that is done to the patient, including regular observations of temperature and blood pressure. It's a pain in the neck to do this but it can mean the difference between life and death. Relentlessly exploit every mistake. Drop hints about going to the General Medical Council. That should ensure that your patient is near the top of the medical staffs' list of priorities.

At a more practical level,there is much that can be done to improve the chances of NHS patients. Buy a box of individual antiseptic wipes to clean the bedside table and nearby surfaces. Wash hands on arrival at the ward - don't just use alcohol gel. Take photos of any visibly obvious dirt and ensure that you're seen doing this. Buying small, regular gifts for the ward staff (e.g. boxes of chocolates, expensive biscuits, bottles of wine) can yield impressive results. Colostomy bag full? Don't ask for it to be emptied - detach it and leave it leaking all over the documents at the nurse's station. It won't fill up again.

The Coopers should understand that their son's life is in greater jeapordy now than it was when he was fighting in Iraq.
 
#9
Might be a bit of an embarresment, but what about a few volunteers fromthe Legion going in cleaning hte wards and sitting by the wounded....

If we must use NHS hospitals like this we need our own part, or failing that, surge QARANCs in to the ward to make sure there are more than enough staff, the civies might even want to be in a mixed ward then (if they know there will be some chance of descent service).

Likewise letting PTSD suffering servicemen and women in to the community to disappear is insane. They need proper care and attention. If neccesary, keep them in the forces.

Somehow the comparison of the luxeries handed to a peado in prison compared to the treatment for someone who has been mentally damaged, whilst serving the country on the orders of the government, some how makes me wince.
 
#10
I really can't stress how good Selly Oaks doctors are for trauma patients, we send our really smashed up patients there by helicopter. Where I work the South African doctors are very experienced in trauma patients and rate them highly.

I would suggest that the MOD build their own block on site (with MOD security) in Selly Oak staffed by forces nurses and doctors. Then the forces can use the NHS facilities and specialists while "looking after their own" at the same time.

This should be funded entirely by the government NOW.
 
#11
I visit the various hospitals in Birmingham and especially Selly Oak on a monthly basis and do come across some of our troops who could have been dealt with better. I’m certainly no apologist for the Chain of Command but suggest that some of the facts of this issue have been clouded by interest politics.

The level of specialist surgical treatment available at Selly Oaks, QE et al is beyond that which was ever available at military hospitals with some of the world’s finest consultants at hand. I also meet extraordinarily dedicated military medical and DMWS staff working very long hours to try and meet the needs of their patients. Unfortunately the uniformed/DMWS staff can do little to influence the Primary Care Trust and are understaffed due to people being pulled away for Herrick and Telic.

IMHO the problem is that which is prevalent across the NHS – mismanagement.

If we sort out our National Health Service then it would be to the benefit of all and, I believe that, every citizen desires the right to competent health care. Isn’t that all part and parcel of the liberal democracy we all swore to protect?

However, whilst even one case of substandard care or MRSA is too many, it seems that many politicians and reporters are making unnecessary mileage out of this - exploiting the sacrifice our troops have made for their own grubby ends.
 
#12
The NHS already makes use of private hospitals in certain geographical areas and medical conditions. The hospitals are set up with the sort of proper accommodation and equipment we are looking for for our military forces. I understand they get these facilities at a reduced rate which is almost the same cost as if treatment were given in a NHS butchery. I have experienced both good and bad at NHS hands but only good at BUPA etc.
There is no need to establish individual quasi-BMH establishments.
As for politicians exploiting the situation - when and where was it any different? I'd sell my soul to the Devil if it got injured servicemen the treatment they deserve.
 
#13
PAXBloke said:
IIMHO the problem is that which is prevalent across the NHS – mismanagement.
What do you think needs to be done to resolve this problem?


OldRedCap said:
The NHS already makes use of private hospitals in certain geographical areas and medical conditions.
Private medicine is not well developed within the UK. Many private hospitals are little more than hotels with attached operating theatres.

They are not generally able to treat people who are very ill. For example, I don't know of any private hospitals outside London that have an intensive care unit or an A&E department.

I believe many of them don't even have a doctor on site at night. If you need urgent drug treatment, the staff will call an ambulance to take you to emergency ward MRSA down at your local NHS hospital.

I don't think you can rely on BUPA to plug the gaps in the NHS on behalf of the armed forces. As eveyuk said, the only solution is to make adequate provision for injured service personnel within the NHS.

Are bunk beds still in use at Selly Oak?
 
#14
Whichever way you look at this it is staggeringly inept that here we are at the beginning of the spring offensive in Afghanistan, with thousands of troops committed to the campaign and our last military hospital is about to close.

So much for leadership. Our troops are being sold out by their own leaders and the cnuts in Govt.
 
#15
This is the greatest disgrace visited upon the current government of this nation.

Notwithstanding this government's political reasons for engaging in war or warlike operations, their failure to provide the best medical care and consideration for injured servicemen and women is shameful.

I was recently obliged to visit an elderly neighbour in hospital nearby. The hospital is a famous teaching hospital.

Never having been in a civilian hospital before, I could barely believe my eyes - nor my ears - nor my nose, at the sights, sounds and smells I encountered. Filth was everywhere (I pointed out examples to other people who can verify this); the noise was relentless and the old man - an old soldier incidentally - said that the screams and moans throughout the night prevented sleep and were distressing. (This from a man who fought all the way down the Malay peninsula and spent three and half years as a PoW of the Japanese). As a direct result of my visits I have now joined a private health insurance scheme - at a price I really cannot afford.

Just listening to an MP on the wireless saying " The inference of the article is: 'The NHS is not good enough for our boys' ". This is true - it is not and it is not good enough for the population of this country.

Servicemen need and deserve to be treated medically in their own dedicated, militarily run, hospitals - not 'bear-gardens' such as the establishment I had the misfortune to visit and my neighbour to be treated in - he died!
 
#16
The suggestion above that surplus capacity at military hospitals should be used to relieve pressure within the NHS during peacetime is exactly how the system used to work. I lived at Wroughton for a while, and patients from Swindon used to be delighted when offered a place at the military hospital - they were seen quickly, dealt with efficiently and could do so in an atmosphere of order and efficiency rather than chaos and filth. Yes, we need access to all the specialists, but who decided that it was best for those specialists to be NHS doctors who would look after the military as a top-up? Why is it impossible for them to be military doctors who look after civilians as a base-loading?

I note the comment that these experiences do not reflect those of other wounded patients, but frankly that is b*ll*cks - it doesn't matter how many are treated well if just one soldier is treated this badly.

It is indicative of the way in which the values of our society have become skewed, that Patrick Mercer was forced to resign for making an honest statement which might have attracted some bad publicity, yet no-one has been forced resign over the scandal and betrayal demonstrated by this report.
 
#17
Fifth_Columnist said:
The suggestion above that surplus capacity at military hospitals should be used to relieve pressure within the NHS during peacetime is exactly how the system used to work. I lived at Wroughton for a while, and patients from Swindon used to be delighted when offered a place at the military hospital - they were seen quickly, dealt with efficiently and could do so in an atmosphere of order and efficiency rather than chaos and filth. Yes, we need access to all the specialists, but who decided that it was best for those specialists to be NHS doctors who would look after the military as a top-up? Why is it impossible for them to be military doctors who look after civilians as a base-loading?

I note the comment that these experiences do not reflect those of other wounded patients, but frankly that is b*ll*cks - it doesn't matter how many are treated well if just one soldier is treated this badly.

It is indicative of the way in which the values of our society have become skewed, that Patrick Mercer was forced to resign for making an honest statement which might have attracted some bad publicity, yet no-one has been forced resign over the scandal and betrayal demonstrated by this report.
And they won't resign. I am past the speechless with rage stage with this Government - however the NHS should be in a position to provide top level care to all of the population - not just military personnel who IMHO should have their own BMH.
 
#18
Rickshaw, I agree that everyone should be entitled to expect a decent standard of care. However, and it is a very big 'however', I believe that the entitlement of the Armed Forces to priority in the delivery of the highest standard of healthcare is because their injuries are sustained on behalf of the rest of the population, in the line of duty to their monarch and their country (I can't bring myself to include the Government in that list). I equate this to the argument that the murderers of policemen should be given longer sentences than any other murderer - it is not that policemen's lives are 'better' than the general public, it is that we must recognise that these people put themselves in harm's way for us - and the public should be grateful that these 'better men' exist.
 
#19
Astonishing to see these three pieces in the Observer. The leader writer clearly had a tense time trying to reconcile his/her instinctive animosity towards the Armed Forces, amity for the wonderful NHS and the Editor's requirement for a sympathetic write-up.

I bet nothing's done, though. A couple of weeks' spin and a visit from a minister with a concerned frown should do it. NuLab at its' finest.
 
#20
The MoD is currently struggling to feed troops deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq. gov.uk spends more feeding prison inmates than it does feeding either service personnel or school children. Given that fact, what do you think are the chances that a shiny new military hospital will be built?
Sadly true! :shakefist:

I don't think the NHS should be expected to deal with an influx of wounded from the Deranged Leader's campaigns either. This will drain the NHS's resources and result in both military and civilian patients not getting the care they deserve.

Proper equipment and medical care cost money and if the government isn't willing to pay it should not be allowed to send troops to war. I hope the electorate consider this in May (Scotland and councils only) and when Broon makes his sales pitch sometime towards the end of this decade. I also hope someone cashes in with a clinical neglect lawsuit and that the media continue to highlight this appalling issue to the embarrassment of MoD and politicians.
 

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