UK forces suffer medical services shortfall

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by hansvonhealing, Sep 12, 2006.

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  1. UK forces suffer medical services shortfall

    Britain's armed forces have only half of the surgeons, 44% of the trauma nurses and 41% of the psychiatric specialists they need as combat casualties mount in Afghanistan and Iraq.
    Despite offers of up to £50,000 for trained doctors and nurses in crucial areas, the Defence Medical Services (DMS) have shortfalls in every category from GPs to intensive care staff.

    Figures obtained by The Herald show the DMS has only 18 of the 36 surgeons, 48 of the 76 anaesthetists, 13 of the 31 psychiatric specialists, 68 of the 190 intensive care nurses, 97 of the 150 mental health nurses and 67 of the 150 emergency medicine nurses it needs.
    Critics say that while Britain's armed forces have shrunk by one-third since the end of the Cold War, medical staffing has been halved over the same period while foreign commitments and casualties increased

    The Ministry of Defence acknowledged manpower shortages but insisted no front-line commitment had been left without adequate medical cover.

    So much for the MOD's 'duty of care'...
  2. Nothing new there really!
  3. I'm sure more and more civilian nurses will consider the army or other forces after the NHS has cut hundreds of jobs and there are also not enough jobs for newly qualified nurses in the NHS!
    Half of the nurses this year who graduated from the NHS did not get jobs!
    So they may look at the forces, especially adult and mental health nurses, as they (or we as I am one myself) are likely to look at the forces, especially if trauma, ITU and Sugergy are of interest.

    Shocking that the money is there and it's not been spent on nurses and doctors!
  4. Not surprised to be honest. I went along to my local careers office and was told they have never heard of psycological graduates being used in the army... they thought they were just civilians who soldiers visited themselves, oh but maybe the MOD might know something, how it was unlikely... in fact the only person who was able to tell me anything about what I want to do was a uni lecturer.

    Edited to add: Maybe what should be looked at is the information available for interested individuals. I knew more about it than they did! Not sure about nurses etc but certainly for my field it's hard work trying to figure who it is you actually need to speak to for even advice let alone how you go about applying.
  5. Tigerbaby

    The MOD does not employ psychologists in a uniformed capacity. There are a small number of civilian clinical psychologists attached to the Military Departments of Community Mental Health dotted around the UK and Germany. They are recruited via the usual means i.e. adverts in newspapers, professional journals, etc.

    The only uniformed MH staff are various grades of Psychiatrist and Mental Health Nurses.
  6. :) Then someone really needs to have a word with recruitment staff, at one point I was told that only the RAF have them!
  7. I remember when the Tories decided to close all the remaining military hospitals. Wroughton springs to mind,as part of options for change-the peace dividend. I had my knee operated on at Wroughton. Fantastic hospital, in my ward was a veteran having his hip replaced. He even tried to walk the day after his op, following much encouragement from us youngsters egging him on. The hospital picked up excess trade from Swindon General when they had spare capacity and was handily placed for Lyneham and Brize.

    Politicians? I am lost for words.

    What exactly is Cameron going to do apart from talk about windmills? NNHS is going to be sorely tested by the mounting casualty list. Salami slicing decisions takien many years ago can bight back very hard indeed.
  8. I think now is the time for a recruitment scheme for medical staff in the forces, as I said above many nurses and doctors etc are not able to get jobs or are being made redundant (espcially nurses).
  9. Agreed missy, out of my entire course year there are only about 6 who know what they want to do with their qualifications. From the students I've spoken to most were interested in seeing what there was to offer, it's just that nobody seems to know what that is. Again I agree about the doctors/nurses, there are a huge amount of graduates from both up here and not all are finding jobs because of this. Excellent opportunity for a targeted recruitment drive but still nothing... I hope it's a case of watch this space because there is potential.
  10. Absolutely right - the closure of dedicated military hospitals (eg Cambridge Mil, Woolwich etc) was remarkably short-sighted. These hospitals not only treated military personnel, but also took in large numbers of patients from the general population thus reducing the burden on the NHS and providing "spare capacity" for crises like a cold winter with lots of sick elderly etc.. IIRC Woolwich provided S London with extra A&E/ trauma cover plus a specialist burns/ plastics dept., not to mention Obs&Gyn, Neurology etc..

    Everyone benefited - military doctors, nurses etc could train in a military environment focused on the particular needs of the armed forces whilst also maintaining a broader skills base via regular contact with the sorts of patients not often encountered in service (eg elderly): a key reason why many doctors don't like spending too much time in the military being the relatively small amount of experience gained in treating the "normal" range of patients encountered in the NHS. Military personnel received fast treatment from people attuned to their needs. Local civilians benefited from reduced waiting times etc, and it was a great way to maintain positive relations/ contacts between the military and general public.

    Closure was stupid, stupid, stupid... All of the above was pointed out at the time, but did the politicians/ civil servants listen?! At present, France maintains 16 dedicated military hospitals covering all specialisms including neurosurgery, cardiothoracic, plastics, oncology plus all the rest - trauma, orthopaedic, psychiatric, obs&gyn etc etc.. Fashionable to denigrate the Frogs, but their approach to military medicine seems sensible & efficient to me. We're practically back to the Crimean War situation: we muddled through, depended on goodwill/ dedication of individuals (eg Flo Nightingale, Mary Seacole etc) whilst the French had proper field & base hospitals, ambulance services etc. Disgraceful.
  11. Wessex Man I worked at QEMH in 1991-92 and it did not have A+E, trauma or obstetrics and the only gynae it did was elective rather than emergency. The ICU did on occassions take NHS patients when there were no ICU beds elsewhere, this usually resulted in chaos as there were insufficient army ICU nurses to care for them. The rot in the AMS had already started and the closure of hospitals like the CMH, DKMH and QEMH was a reflection of this as much as it was a cost saving measure to keep the government happy.
  12. Wasn't this the very thing that started the closure process? Military doctors didn't see a wide enough spectrum of illness in the military hospitals (even with the odd pensioner thrown in now and again) to enable them to retain teaching status. Once that was gone, everthing else followed.
  13. Jacques-B; P-K:

    Don't doubt what you say, but it wasn't always thus, was it?

    My sister was a nursing officer at QEMH, early 1980s, and having come from the NHS was surprised by how many non-military patients were treated. Friend of mine (a teacher in a local school) was admitted to QEMH, mid '80s, through A&E and treated for endocarditis.

    I underwent surgery at Camb Mil, Aldershot (1967), and was IIRC the only "Army brat" on the ward - all the other kids were from local civ families. Another friend (again from a civilian family) was admitted to Camb Mil following a severe RTA (1971) - they saved his life, but sadly not his right leg.

    IMO, there's a strong case to revive dedicated mil hosptls which also supplement the NHS (as they appear to have done a generation ago) when there is no overriding military necessity.
  14. Great idea WM, who's going to fund it?
  15. The taxpayer, via MOD? God knows, enough cash is wasted in procurement etc - maybe a bit of reordering of priorities?

    Just seems strange to me that the Americans & French regard dedicated military hospitals as a necessity, yet we think muddling through is acceptable.

    More generally, we need significantly increased hospital bed capacity in the UK (eg as I'm sure you appreciate, "hot bedding" in the NHS is a massive obstacle to improved infection control, esp MRSA!), and anything that reduces the strain on the NHS & improves the quality of medical care for the Armed Forces can, I think, be justified to the average taxpayer.