One in ten soldiers 'unfit'


But alas I suppose they do have a point.........

More than 10,000 British soldiers are unfit for fighting duties, the Liberal Democrats have claimed.
The party's defence spokesman, Paul Keetch, described the numbers - representing more than 10% of the Army's fighting force - as "alarming".

The number "medically downgraded" as unfit has risen by nearly 2,000 in the last two years, and comes at a time when the Army faces a 7,419 staffing shortfall.

Mr Keetch said: "Medical downgrading is reaching crisis levels.

"The British Army is not big enough to have 10,000 soldiers out of action and not feel the effects. Our forces are under enough pressure as it is."

The Lib Dem MP said the downturn had occurred despite an increase in Ministry of Defence (MoD) spending on private medical care.

Defence chiefs announced two years ago that private medics would be brought in to by-pass waiting lists and return servicemen and women to fighting fitness.

Mr Keetch said: ""The MoD's medical policies are clearly failing our armed services.

"After a decade of cuts, the dedicated men and women of the Defence Medical Services can offer a shadow service only, relying on allies in the field and private healthcare at home."

Mr Keetch's concerns were echoed by shadow defence secretary Bernard Jenkin.

The Conservative MP said: "These figures show that British armed forces would be even more overstretched in the event of a major deployment.

"At a time when our forces face a number of commitments all over the world, this is worrying. The increase in the cost of medical care is a huge waste of precious defence resources."

Contacted by BBC News Online, the MoD said they would need to examine the details of Mr Keetch's statement before passing comment.
In my infantry platoon I have:
1 long term sick in hospital,
1 AWOL with psycho trauma,
1 broken hand
3 cases of Achilles tendonitis.
Therefore only 75% of the platoon is combat effective.  i'd say that this Lib Dem figure is a fraction conservative.  My biggest concern is Achilles tendonitis, which hits everyone at some point.  Does anyone know the answer?
I can believe those figs as I'm at the moment one of those stats not through my fault but through the fault of my beloved leaders who see it fit not to give me the required time to get over my various operations. They deem it more important to get arrsed around at work doing next to nothing and when I asked to go to the gym to do some rehab I was told to check serial numbers instead. Do i have a donkey in charge of me or am I mising the point. Its not just the injury that puts a soldier back its ther state of mind aswell if they feel let down or get downbeat about what injury they have this can also put their return to duty back also.
maybe we should go back to proper training!i think its becoming glaringly obvious that this new,loving, hugging, duvets, no boots, dont shout to much,caring sharing,dose,nt matter if he{or she}is not making the grade pass them anyway(its a numbers game) not enough are passing the test_simple lower the pass standard way of training the army is not working.Trian hard fight easy! Train with lower standards -get lower standard soldiers.The do goodie liberal "stop bullying in the army"(of which iv,e seen very little) types wanted a soft cuddly army,now they,ve got it with all there stupid politically correct rules,they moan about the state of the army.There rules have crated the problem.Leave soldiers to train soldiers! :mad:
You have a valid point BUT the problems are a reflection of society as a whole. Society is the pool from which we recruit our soldiers.

How do you change that??

Remember, that in this day and age the Army is never the first choice for the majority that join up!! :'(
I know we cant change society,but we can keep our standards constant.should we keep lowering them to suit the type of recruit we are getting,or should we not work harder to bring them up to the standard we require. ???


Having almost been the victim of medical downgrading myself (although those who know me are surprised that I have survived this far!) I think that I know a small part of the problem:

Civvy doctors - mine was eager to downgrade me so that if anything happened to me it wasn't his fault - no cahnce of litigation with the subsequent loss of his "lucrative" MoD contract.  What didn't help was having the initial tests carried out by a "nurse" who had to read the instructions as we went along and who admitted that she had never taken anyone's blood pressure before!


War Hero
All caused by the run down of defence medical services, I saw a civvie consultant who asked "when does your leg hurt then?" and I replied when I run, he then said "you're 38 don't run anymore then"?
I believe that these reports of 10% being unfit would be be drastically reduced if this mess that Defence Medical Sevices have got us into gets sorted.  Our local is Frimley Park (Grimley Dark to those that have been there) and the waiting time for minor ops etc is horrendous.  The good old military hospitals may have had there faults but at least you were seen almost immediately and then either given a course of treatment / physio or operation etc andthen back to your unit.  Currently we have loads of good soldiers with niggling basic injuries, often caused through sports or training (ie genuine biff chits, not knackers) whoae becoming disillusioned and BORED - who knows how many will just piss off back civvy street etc
Here here, bring back the good old cambridge military i say. Wont happen though cos our docters have worked out that if they work at a civi hospital there are perks. ,first they can get private jobs for extra pay,second thay dont have to look at fit young soldiers all day,they get to look at fit young birds as well that arnt in the army,and finally they get treated like propper people instead of second class citizens like the army do.
there is one draw back though ,they have to actually treat civi patients properly not just say stop winging ,take two brufen and of coarse having broken legs wont excuse you from the BFT tommorrow.sorry old school,i remember how it used to be before love came to the army.
Rif Raf

Quite the opposite actually. For a lot of DMS doctors, working in a Ministry of Defence Hospital Unit is not what they joined up to do. Common complaints include having to work to two masters (the MOD and the NHS), being shafted by the NHS managers who view them as free labour for on-calls and unpopular leave dates etc, no military ethos, no Mess, no military gym, limited adventure training opportunities...

As for not looking at young fit soldiers, again this is bad. Instead of training properly for their war role, they are stuck treating kids and grannies!

Most (though not all, I admit) would prefer to work in a military environment.

On the subject of large numbers of soldiers being downgraded: while the cuts to the DMS don't help, thats not the whole story. Looking after your soldiers is a function of Command. CO's have got to be educated to stop breaking people in the first place. We've all come across a new CO who wants his gong, and doesn't care if he rapes his battalion over two years in order to get it. Training has to be realistic and hard, but if it breaks people, its counter productive. The best trained soldier in the world is no good with a****ed back/knees, and the medics aren't miracle workers.
I dont think that co,s breaking their men are the only ones,im afraid that is a problem with many officers(not all) I think this system of officers coming into and out of regiments every two years is wrong.

If officers stayed with a unit most or all of their carrers as many of the men do they would develope a vested interest in that regt and its men.they wouldnt swan in break mens backs and swan out again if they were commited to those men and relying on their help for an extended period of their own carriers.

Men would not have to start all over again with new bosses who know nothing about them or their past,we are constantly having to re-prove ourselves time and time again to new officers-who do not read our files-before someone says that one-on handover.
I think you're quite right that too many officers these days are looking to their next job, and view their current job as a stepping stone.

The majority genuinely care about the boys and the regiment (I hope - otherwise you have to question peopls' motives in seeking a commission in the first place!), but unfortunately its often the ambitious ones who end up in the senior positions.

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