The militarys most senior doctor to review standards

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Richard_Hannay, Mar 12, 2007.

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    2 things strike me about this article:

    1. The SG has pledged that he WILL review standards of care - hmmmm - so if he isn't ensuring that soldiers get consistent high quality care NOW, isn't he somewhat missing the point of his day-job?

    2. Massive complacency - 'there's no problem here and everything is all fine' - clearly he has never looked at Arrse or bothered to find out at first hand what is happening to injured troops - particularly those left to the mercies of the wider NHS.

    All of this suggests that a cursory review is on the cards which will conclude that all's well with Secondary Care.

    I have come across plenty of excellent RAMC doctors, medics and AOs in my time - and have seen how hard some of them have had to struggle with case management of injured troops (and in doing so have done a great job) given the current tempo of ops, why can't the SG get a grip?

    Military's doctor pledges to review health care
    By Alex Berry
    Last Updated: 2:43am GMT 12/03/2007

    The military's most senior doctor has pledged to review standards of care for wounded service personnel following the publication of a series of complaints about their appalling treatment on the NHS.

    Lt Gen Louis Lillywhite, the Surgeon General, defended the way casualties were looked after but said: "If we need to do things better, we shall."

    His statement came after soldiers and their families described the dire state they were left in after being injured while serving their country.

    advertisementThe shadow defence secretary Liam Fox said their treatment represented a "betrayal" while Lord Guthrie, the former Chief of Defence Staff, said: "The handling of the medical casualties from both Afghanistan and Iraq is a scandal."

    The complaints centre on Birmingham's Selly Oak hospital, where many injured soldiers are now treated since the closure of almost all separate military medical units.

    One reveals how Jamie Cooper, the youngest British soldier wounded in Iraq, spent a night lying in his own faeces after staff allowed his colostomy bag to overflow.

    According to the letter from the 18-year-old's parents, his medical air mattress was left to deflate, leaving him in "considerable pain". He contracted the superbug MRSA.

    Phillip and Caroline Cooper, from Bristol, wrote to Ministry of Defence officials and hospital managers to complain after he had spent more than two months at Selly Oak.

    The letter told how their son had been wounded in a double mortar attack and it was only "by the grace of God and the work of an excellent surgeon" that his life had been saved - but there followed a "catalogue of errors".

    In separate correspondence Alex Weldon, of 45 Commando Royal Marines, complained of pain relief arriving hours late. The marine described seeing a fellow casualty from Afghanistan in such agony on the ward that it "brought tears to his eyes".

    The Defence Secretary, Des Browne, said an investigation into Mr Cooper's case was being held and troops injured in conflict should receive the best possible treatment.

    "Where there are individual cases that fall short of the very high standards that I and others demand, then we need to address these and I will address them. They are unacceptable," he told BBC1's The Politics Show.

    Lt Gen Lillywhite said a survey of military patients at Selly Oak rated their treatment as "excellent, very good or good".

    But he added: "When any members of the armed forces, or their families, are unhappy about their treatment then we will investigate with the NHS on their behalf."

    But he rejected the idea that soldiers should be treated at independent military centres rather than within the NHS.

    "Serious casualties from Iraq and Afghanistan need and receive advanced levels of care across a wide range of medical disciplines that can only be found in a major trauma hospital," he said.

    The complaints came on the same day that Ministry of Defence figures revealed that, since 2003, more than 2,100 troops have suffered psychiatric problems after returning from Iraq. But many are waiting up to 18 months for NHS treatment.

    A spokesman for University Hospital Birmingham Trust said yesterday: "We have had an official complaint from the Cooper family which we are investigating. We refute some of the allegations which have been reported."
  2. ... and the main advances in the past with regard to military patients were made by military medical personnel in military hospitals - is the Surgeon General now pandering to Swiss Des ?
  3. If soldiers are having to wait 18 months for a first appointment on the NHS why the need for a review? It is cr@p just fix it. If the SG has been in charge of care and it is this cr@p he is precisely the wrong person to carry out the review. If the review cannot demand mor resources what is the purpose of the review other than appear to be doing something about it.

    Spin Spin Spin.
  4. My understanding is that 18 month waits are mostly for psychiatric appointments - which of course is the result of closing down the DKMH in Catterick and its very successful psychiatric wing. Provision of mil psychiatry was outsourced to the Priory who can't even sort Robbie Williams out, FFS. I understand that the founder of the Priory is a substantial donor to the Labour party, which is of course utterly coincidental.
  5. Sorry, but this is completely and utterly wrong. No one waits anything like that long for a psychiatric outpatient appointment (which is entirely military run) and a service person who needs an inpatient psychiatric bed will get one today if he or she needs it.

    To clarify, only inpatient services are provided by the Priory. The vast majority of Mental Health care is delivered by the MOD run DCMHs.
  6. ViroBono

    ViroBono LE Moderator

    The problem with mental health services affects ex-service personnel.

    Turning to SG's review, surely he isn't relying on the patient survey figures as an accurate measure of how well people are treated. Are patients qualified to offer an objective opinion of the clinical standard of their treatment?
  7. Your last is of course entirely true Neuroleptic. I have no doubt if a serving soldier comes forward and reports mental health problems he gets help. But the problems are with those who have left the service - often undiagnosed - or with those who are still serving and have not been diagnosed, largely no doubt because they don't see themselves as being in difficulty or are reluctant to come forward and say they are. Combat Stress are very firm on this.

  8. Thanks for clarifying the position on this. However, Mick Smith's point re Combat Stress is also true. In my experience, soldiers who are out of the system - discharged, demobilised TA or long term sick at home are often the ones who fall foul of a system which works best when a soldier's case management is owned by his / her RMO with the support and interest of the CO. (This appies to both psychiatric and physical injuries). I have seen the work of military CPNs and it is excellent - hence my disapproval of contracting it out.
  9. The SG offers reassurance on the basis that the majority of customer satisfaction ratings are excellent - good. I haven't seen the form in question but I hazard a guess that 'good' is one up from 'poor' or something similar. I wonder, would SG be happy with his OJAR being just 'good' as opposed to 'excellent'.

    I note that the US Army's SG has just fallen on his sword, should someone start polishing the mess webley at HQ AMS?
  10. You should still be paid as a soldier if you are suffering from severe PTSD IMO. When they have helped you back into a normal life where you can cope with your experiences then they can think about discharging you.

  11. but what if 'good' just simply isn't good enough ?
  12. Al the problems listed above are normal for the non military user of the NHS, they ahppen every day.

    I agree that service men should not have to suffer like that, but equally joe pubic shouldn't either, bad care is bad care and shouldn't happen.
  13. As was stated in many threads on this site (sometimes by the person affected), the 18 month delay applies to de-mobbed TA soldiers. Many have found that the moment they are discharged they cease to have access to any military medical aid. They are then told to go and see their local GP.

    Strangely most local GPs have no experience of combat injuries, either physical or mental, and so the poor sod who needs help struggles to find it as GPs write him/her off as a hypochondriac (sp?). Even if their condition is correctly identified they then enter the NHS waiting game with chavs, scum, senile old farts, etc. A really nice way of rewarding service in the line of fire.

    The SG should not be investigating this matter. He should be summoned to appear infront of either the Defence Committee or the Privy Council and asked to explain why he has allowed this abortion of a situation to continue since 2003.

    Not wanting to pre-judge him, but I believe that either him or someone higher up the food chain (political) should be taken outside and shot.
  14. Couldnt help noticing that Defence Minister Derek Twigg, speaking yesterday on BFBS, said that patients had rated their treatment as "excellent, good or very good".

    Spot the difference! Ingenious word order which gives 'accidental' prominence to "excellent" and "very good". Me, I still think patient care deserves more priority than presentation.
  15. Ventress

    Ventress LE Moderator

    The survey probably only gave the choice of 'excellent, very good and good'