Scandalous treatment of injured troops by UK Govt

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by rockape34, Oct 16, 2007.

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  1. Apologies if this has been posted elsewhere.

    [quote="Daily Telegraph]
    Be ashamed of how we treat our injured troops
    By Tim Collins
    Last Updated: 1:37am BST 15/10/2007

    The Government's behaviour is a scandal, but the top brass should also hang their heads

    One of the less attractive features of the UK in modern times is that the Government holds service to the nation rather cheaply. This becomes dazzlingly apparent if you are unfortunate enough to die for our nation, for the country loses interest in you and your family pretty damn quickly. The burden of pastoral care and practical financial care largely falls on charities: the British Legion, Combat Stress and the Regimental Associations. Private money. They sweep up the bits that the Government ignores and thank God they do. Relax, Prime Minister, there will be little or no burden on the state.

    There are those who are demanding that this shameful situation be redressed, but they are all retired military. Where are the serving generals? Where is their shame? When was the last time a general officer from any of the services resigned in protest at the shoddy treatment of our servicemen or the pointless tasks they are asked to do? It is some relief that the Chief of the General Staff, Sir Richard Dannatt, has spoken up once more. But he treads a lonely path.

    advertisementAs a result, the broken and injured servicemen and women are brought back to the UK to face at best indifference, at worst abuse in the mixed wards in the notorious Selly Oak Hospital. Once their services are no longer required by the nation they are on their own. I shudder to think what would happen without the charities.

    Politicians do not care. There is no benefit from supporting these faithful citizens who dare to serve and who volunteer to face danger that we may watch The X Factor in peace. Moreover these same people are a little embarrassing, as supporting them might be construed as support for the New Labour Wars – and who would want that! No, discharged servicemen have served their purpose and are a burden the nation has no interest in.

    Private funds support the broken and maimed in body mind and spirit. When haughty residents around the massively overworked RAF Headley Court - the services' rehabilitation centre - complained about plans to provide accommodation for the families of the wounded nearby, it took a private petition to put them in their place. Indeed, a private charity is now striving to raise funds to build a swimming pool at Headley Court for the use of the broken heroes. And the Government's attitude? "Private funds? Crack on."

    It is a national scandal, but there are moments of hope. Last week the Government announced that there would be a shake-up of the compensation scheme to allow for compensation for multiple injuries up to £285,000. Still derisory compared to the civilian typist with the RAF who netted over £400,000 for a sore thumb, but a step in the right direction.

    As a concerned former member of the Armed Forces I look at the way the US treats its servicemen and I am ashamed of our nation. I envy America's GI Bill that guarantees fair treatment for its service people, including health, education and welfare. I doubt we in the UK could ever get such a bill through now to fill the void that is left after the destruction of the regimental system by Government meddling. I suspect that like any military situation the trick is to beat the enemy at their own game. Well, it is clear to me that the one thing the Labour Government will listen to is Europe. I would recommend that any aggrieved serviceman or woman take their case to Europe to get fair compensation - base it on the obligations of an employer. It is a sad move and a dark day, but this Government's attitude to our forces is a disgrace. So let's talk to them in a language that they do seem to understand – European bureaucracy.

    Colonel Tim Collins commanded the 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Regiment during the invasion of Iraq, 2003
  2. Okay lets get the cynicism out of the way. He is an ex service officer complaining that only ex service officers have the courage to speak up. Not sure what to make of that.

    Anyway I couldn't agree with him more. Words fail me when I try to describe how I feel about this government in general terms but when I think about how they treat the armed forces and how they treat service men and women I get what can only be described as a neural 'blue screen of death'. It simply does not compute.

    I think I understand the strategy. This is the Labour Party afterall. Not content to just scrap the armed forces, which would follow their natural instinct, they accept them simply as a necessary evil. They do not trust them, in a particularly nasty socialist way, and so to keep them out of the way they are happy to send them into the meat grinder. They don't care where the meat grinder is so long as they think they can politically get away with it.

    This government will only listen to Europe if it suits them. If any serviceman or woman goes to the Europeans bear this in mind. The only people who hold the British Armed Forces in more contempt than the current British government are the Europeans. Even if the Europeans miraculously find in favour of the British service personel; the government will suddenly and temporarily grow balls, harden up to Europe and apply those 'Red Line Veto' thingies that they keep banging on about to get the British public to accept the overlordship of Brussels.

    I was a lifelong Labour Party supporter, no hear me out. Even when I was in uniform and my mates would bang on about how good the Tories were and what a disaster a Labour government would cause I just assumed they were a tad right wing and thought no more of it. I think I understand now. Labour might be good for some. Rapists, peodophiles and murderers are very happy with them. People who cannot be bothered to get out of bed in the morning to earn a living are very happy with them. Women who have made a career out of having babies by mutiple different fathers in order to stay out of work and get free accomodation are very happy with them.......................I think you see the pattern of my argument but the truth is, through my eyes and ears, that if you are in uniform, be it police, fire service, nursing or military, the incumbent government are bad news. Really bad news.
  3. There is a hard core within the Labour Party who are deeply anti forces, of course they cannot come out and state this but their actions speak far louder than their weasle words.

    Even the relatives of the fallen are treated as second class citizens, read this from a parents blog:

    As mother of Phillip Hewett, who was killed so tragically in Iraq in July 2005, I with my husband - along with other bereaved families - were invited to the unveiling. We have been to Alrewas many times but this time, as you would expect, numbers were limited.

    But, it seems, even with bereaved families, there is no equality in death. After being told that each family could only have two tickets, however, we found that other families had four. This, I thought was more than a little unfair as my father who had himself served for 17 years in the Army. Had I not phoned up to inquire about more tickets, he would have been disappointed but, as it was, I was used to the way of the authorities. I managed to get another ticket.

    When the tickets arrived, they were coloured green. This had no particular meaning for us, but we were to find out that colour was everything. We began to learn this when I inquired about parking at the arboretum. I was asked whether my tickets were "red or green". Then, I found out that for "greenies", there was no parking – even though I was also giving a lift to parents of another soldier killed in Iraq, one of whom was disabled.

    Even then, the penny had not fully dropped. It was not until the night before the event when I was phoned by a father of another lad that the official "colour prejudice" became clear. He told me that had red tickets and had been told to park at Alrewas itself. When we got there, us "greenies" had to go to some distance to a "park and ride" area and were forced to wait for a bus for the last part of the journey.

    It was at the arboretum, though, that we really began to feel the effects of our colour. Us lesser mortals – that we were – were herded off to a green-coloured marquee, to be given plated sandwiches to eat while standing, while the "reds" wined and dined in the comfort of a fully equipped dining area.

    The "reds", we found, were classed as VIP guests. We, the "great unwashed", were fenced off from them in a completely different part of the site, allowing the "reds" to meet the Queen and prime minister and other guests. And while they had freedom to roam, we - as befitted our second-class status – were herded from place to place like cattle.

    As one of the parents said to me, "how many children do you have to lose to be classed as important the officers and there (sic) wives the people who had lost nobody?"

    For all that, when we actually came to look at the monument, I felt quite disappointed. It was not the work that had gone in to the structure, but the way the dead had been treated. There were no ranks and no regiments - just a names, like out of a school register. I do not know what I expected but it was not what I saw.

    I know that was not alone in feeling disappointed in the way we were treated. We were never given the chance to meet the Queen or anyone in the privileged "red" section. All we saw of Her Majesty was the rear of her Bentley as it disappeared down the drive after the ceremony. Everything was geared to making us feel like second-class citizens. Even when we got on the coaches to depart, priority was given to those with red tickets. It was a sad day made even sadder by the exclusion of all the families involved.

    Of course, the suspicion is that people like myself, who have spoken out about the way our troops have been treated, and several other families who speak out – members of the "awkward squad" - were kept as far away from the VIPs as possible.

    The affair had to be "sanitised" and us rabble had to be kept from polluting our betters. We were tolerated as "extras" for the TV cameras and the press, on the day – and we were allowed to send our sons to die for the nation – but we must still know our place.

    once again, adequate word fail me.
  4. I wonder if it would be possible for the army to largely bypass the NHS by doing a deal with a private health care provider and persuading troops to take out a common insurance policy. It might even be possible to use a clean and efficient German hospital near a British garrison to establish a military ward and provide top class care to the wounded and sick.
    The most seriously injured might need such specialist care that they have to be sent to specific NHS units but the moderately injured could be looked after together under military supervision.
    It is obvious that the govt. couldn't care less about the welfare of troops and perhaps it's time for the army to act unilaterally and take command of the situation. I couldn't imagine a bigger slap in the face for Labour and morale boost for the troops.
  5. Good suggestion. Short of re-establishing military hospitals, it deserves serious consideration.

    Let's not forget the veterans either. An elderly friend of mine joined the Royal Navy as a junior before WWII and was wounded in action at the Battle of the River Plate, Dieppe and Normandy. He was commissioned after the war and ended up serving the RN, both in and out of uniform, until his 65th birthday. After his final retirement, stubborn old cuss that he was, he refused to seek NHS help for his long-term illness because he reckoned the Royal Navy had broken its initial promise to provide him with medical care to the end of his days. The NHS only became involved when he collapsed at home and an ambulance took him to hospital where he died two days later.
  6. I believe this is already done in Australia. Would certainly allow for many more minor ops and get people back to the front line. Also think private healthcare extends to immediate family in Aus.

    Whatever happens, avoid Maidstone if you can and take some bleach with you to hospital.
  7. For the first time I can remember, Cad, you've posted something that I actually agree with. The story about how the relatives of the fallen were treated at Alrewas is disgraceful. Unfortunately, it doesn't suprise me in the least. Every year when I attend the Rememberance Sunday ceremony in central Birmingham, the bank of stadium-style seating they erect for the event is occupied by serving officers and assorted local dignitaries whilst veterans - including very old boys on sticks - are left standing behind the crush barriers. I've come to the conclusion that none of this stuff is really about rememberance at all, but more about giving the great and good an opportunity to seem pious. That that would seem to apply equally to a ceremony to remember the fallen of a conflict which hasn't even finished yet is - as you say - beyond words.
  8. Wedge35, to quote your good self, I couldn't disagree with you less. It is beyond any words. J_C_S has hit it on the head, an insurance scheme is the only way out with the hospital being the US one at Ramstein.
  9. Thinking on it is as if Labour politicians gain a vicious, sadistic pleasure out of the added humiliation heaped on wounded soldiers at Selly Oak. Their disdain for The Armed Forces seems to have been replaced by detestation and astonished fury that as a government they are not only expected to look after those wounded but have a duty to do so. Duty being a concept they are incapable of comprehending.
  10. If I was the suspicious and cynical sort (Which I am) I would say that the treatment of the wounded and bereaved isn't just disgraceful and shameful neglect but part of a deliberate policy to run the forces into the ground. Even incompetence has it's limits, could any government be THIS incompetent and uncaring unless it was idealogically driven?

    There is a hidden agenda behind everything that is happening, I sh*t you not gents.
  11. Oh aye, I can see that. Convince a private health company to take on cases that will need caring for the rest of their natural, and intensive detailed care at that. I was under the impression that the private companies cry off paying out for that sort of thing.

    Military hospitals are the only way ahead as far as I am concerned.
  12. You may very well be right, Cad. Reduce morale to rock bottom, try and induce soldiers to leave in droves then introduce a Euro army whose oath is to the politicians.
  13. Military hospitals are the only way when a right thinking government is in power, at this moment a soldier detesting government rules, some form of insurance may have to be the recourse even if only in the short term. How long before a wounded, defenceless soldier or his wife, girlfriend or mother is stabbed by an Islamic crazy at Selly Oak?
  14. Damn right. I completely agree.
  15. Hmmm! All very interesting stuff. There is certainly a witches brew of boiling contempt and aversion to the Gumint. I just wonder though, does this bunch of troughing psuedo national leaders keep large numbers of troop away from home and engaging in military adventures, serve to make them feel safe from a military take over?. They must certainly have pondered, I reckon.

    " A little mouse!,
    A little tiny Mouse of thought,
    pondered at home,
    spoken about quietly abroard,
    makes even the mightiest potentate
    tremble, with unspoken,
    unspeakable FEAR "

    With apologies to W S Churchill