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Wounded reservist - MoD failure in duty of care

#1
From today's Scotsman. Available from news.scotsman.com, free registration required for this article.
Scots TA officer wounded in Iraq accuses MoD of failure to care

KAREN MCVEIGH

A SCOTTISH Territorial Army soldier who was badly wounded in Iraq has accused the Ministry of Defence of "losing him in the system" after he was forced to battle on his own to get the medical care he needed.

Campaigners say Colonel Scott Garthley's case highlights growing concern that care offered to reservists following mobilisation falls below that given to regular soldiers.

Col Garthley, from Dundee, swapped his comfortable job as a senior bank executive for the desert battleground of Iraq, believing that, whatever happened, the Army would look after him. But now he has accused the Ministry of Defence of failing to do so.

After being injured in a Scud missile attack on the border with Kuwait in the first hours of the conflict, in March 2003, he claims he endured a "private hell", battling to get the medical care he needed.

He said that, with little help from the MoD, and faced with NHS waiting lists, he resorted to private treatment for ten operations needed on his spine, knees, shoulders and stomach.

His mental health suffered as a result of the attack, but even though the MoD is supposed to look out for post-traumatic stress disorder in returning personnel, the condition went undiagnosed for a year, he said...
...Mr Garthley, who was medically discharged from the TA last month and has now returned to work, said no-one should have to repeat what he went through.

The MoD is increasingly relying on reservists - there are 1,092 from all three services involved in Operation Telic, representing 13 per cent of the 8,500-strong British force in Iraq.

Yesterday, Richard Ottaway, Conservative MP for Croydon South, called on the government to ensure that reservists who fought for their country received the same benefits as regulars.

"The government have got to get to grips with what is expected of them," said Mr Ottaway, who was a reservist for ten years. "The rules of the game have changed and everyone who signs up as a reservist expects to get called up. You can't just borrow someone and then wash your hands of them. If you are injured in active service you should be entitled to the same medical and other benefits as regular front-line soldiers until you are back on your feet."

A spokesman for the MoD said: "All reservists who are evacuated back to the UK remain in the care of the defence medical service and only when the period of mobilisation duty is complete will they return to the care of their GP. If they receive treatment within the military chain, an administrative officer civilian hospital will be assigned to maintain appropriate links between them and their unit and to ensure records are kept.

"We cannot comment on individual cases but if a member of military personnel feels they haven't been treated properly they should lodge a complaint."
 
#3
Campaigners say Colonel Scott Garthley's case highlights growing concern that care offered to reservists following mobilisation falls below that given to regular soldiers.

More to the point your family will get royally shafted if you are killed! £1200 pension a year for a TA Cpl's widow bringing up two small children. The reason? TA don't pay into the Army pesion fund, or thats what the pen pushers say. A regular Cpl's widow from the same Corps picks up over £14000 from the army in benifits. So much for 'One Army' concept. In short the reserve is value for money for the government as they cost less alive and even less when they are killed or injured!
 
#4
Baldrick66 said:
Campaigners say Colonel Scott Garthley's case highlights growing concern that care offered to reservists following mobilisation falls below that given to regular soldiers.

More to the point your family will get royally shafted if you are killed! £1200 pension a year for a TA Cpl's widow bringing up two small children. The reason? TA don't pay into the Army pesion fund, or thats what the pen pushers say. A regular Cpl's widow from the same Corps picks up over £14000 from the army in benifits. So much for 'One Army' concept. In short the reserve is value for money for the government as they cost less alive and even less when they are killed or injured!
This is shocking. The 'TA don't pay into the Army pension fund' bit is a Cold War argument, possibly arguable before regular & continuous mobilisations began in the mid-90s. Since then a proportion of deployed forces has continuously been provided by TA and regular reservists (IMO too often overlooked in such discussions). Telic has increased that proportion - and sadly the chances of becoming a casualty. I see no reason why the Army could not have been paying a corresponding amount into the pension fund, or coming up with a separate scheme.

Any more thoughts?
 
#5
The Septics have experienced exactly the same problem btw. Reserve and NG personnel have had a tough time getting medical help. This has been recognised and moves are afoot to improve their situation.I'll try and find a link.
 
#6
hackle said:
He said that, with little help from the MoD, and faced with NHS waiting lists.
since the demise of the military hospital, we all go on NHS waiting lists, reg or TA, wounded or elective.
we no longer have our own hospitals, we dont have military only wards or operating theatres. he cant be given what we dont have. sorry and all that but thats life post DCS15.
 
#7
From Strategy Page;
March 2, 2005
Bureaucracy is often the culprit when it comes to actions that hurt morale. An excellent example of that was encountered when, for the first time in over thirty years, thousands of reservists were wounded in combat. The U.S. military has excellent medical services for wounded troops. But because of the separate bureaucracies for active duty, and reserve troops, most of these medical services, which wounded reservists need for long term care and recuperation, are only available for active duty troops. When you have only a handful of wounded reservists at any one time, as has been the case since the Vietnam war (the last time there were a lot of reservists), you had enough bureaucrats to hand carry paperwork for each injured reservist. This was easier than trying to change all manner of laws and regulations covering the separate rules for active duty and reserve personnel. But when so many reservists got banged up in Iraq, the system had a meltdown. The ones who suffered were the wounded reservists. Pay was late, benefits were denied (until the proper paperwork caught up with reality) and the word spread. Even with scores of Senators and members of Congress howling for something to be done, bureaucracies cannot move quickly enough for situations like this. Congressional committees have been formed to look into changing the regulations.
 

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#8
What really pis ses me of here is not so much that the services are not available (and that does pis s me off) but the attitude that - so what, no-one is going to complain to an extent that I lose my nice, expensive, well paid and covered in expenses, seat at Westminster.

I really detest politicians and the end result of their incompetence - and ultimate sloping shoulders - 'Not my fault mate' UUUrrrrrrrgh. hate them
 
#9
Filbert Fox said:
hackle said:
He said that, with little help from the MoD, and faced with NHS waiting lists.
since the demise of the military hospital, we all go on NHS waiting lists, reg or TA, wounded or elective.
we no longer have our own hospitals, we dont have military only wards or operating theatres. he cant be given what we dont have. sorry and all that but thats life post DCS15.
Yes, am aware of that FF, that quote is from the article not from me. A Regular MIGHT not, however, be totally abandoned into the civilian system to quite the same extent as is alleged in this case. On the mental health angle, sheer speculation on my part but it is not impossible that in this case the patient's rank was one reason for his not getting the follow-up which is supposed to happen. I totally accept that, as is often the case, part of the problem is not specific to Reg or reserves although that seems to be the angle taken in the article.
 
#11
MOD SPokes person said:
A spokesman for the MoD said: "All reservists who are evacuated back to the UK remain in the care of the defence medical service and only when the period of mobilisation duty is complete will they return to the care of their GP. If they receive treatment within the military chain, an administrative officer civilian hospital will be assigned to maintain appropriate links between them and their unit and to ensure records are kept.
Ahhh, so.

Memo to self: Get wounded at the start of moblisation, means less time on NHS lists.

All this, once again makes me wonder: Why the hell Am I trying to join up?

Frankly the one thing capble of scaring me off from the TA is the royal shafting I'm likley to recive from the MOD/Govenment.
 
#12
A regular soldier I worked with in Aldershot had an accident when getting off a Herc and he had big problems with his back. He was kept on a waiting list for years in the UK and only got the operations he needed when he got his MP involved who asked questions to TCH in the House of Commons. I don't think the TA are treated any worse than the regs but I am sure that the welfare issues are likely to be less robustly dealt with due to the fact that when TA soldiers are back home they are less likely to be of a concern to his unit. A sick regular soldier will, however, not be as employable in his unit and have a better support system.
 
#13
i have a letter from HQ scotland saying that no TA or reservist is to be treated by the army medical services no matter where they recived the injury. and all i wanted was a bit of physio for a shoulder injury caused by an RPG on telic, and i work next to the med centre. just shows how much we are appreciated. again!!!
 
#14
cdo-engr said:
i have a letter from HQ scotland saying that no TA or reservist is to be treated by the army medical services no matter where they recived the injury. and all i wanted was a bit of physio for a shoulder injury caused by an RPG on telic, and i work next to the med centre. just shows how much we are appreciated. again!!!
Nice of them makes you really think hard about joining up :?
 
#15
SuperTrooper said:
A regular soldier I worked with in Aldershot had an accident when getting off a Herc and he had big problems with his back. He was kept on a waiting list for years in the UK and only got the operations he needed when he got his MP involved who asked questions to TCH in the House of Commons. I don't think the TA are treated any worse than the regs but I am sure that the welfare issues are likely to be less robustly dealt with due to the fact that when TA soldiers are back home they are less likely to be of a concern to his unit. A sick regular soldier will, however, not be as employable in his unit and have a better support system.
Not surprising really. After all we are not people, we are 'platforms'. Didn't you know that 'platforms' aren't supposed to throw a sicky or hurt their back? Of course not, platforms are imaginary inhuman conceptoid objects which as far as the beancounters and politicians are concerned are what the army is made up of. CVR(T), CR2, AFV, AH, SH, Man. Platforms, all of them. Remember that next time you get injured, and book yourself an appointment with the LAD.
 
#16
Birdy said:
cdo-engr said:
i have a letter from HQ scotland saying that no TA or reservist is to be treated by the army medical services no matter where they recived the injury. and all i wanted was a bit of physio for a shoulder injury caused by an RPG on telic, and i work next to the med centre. just shows how much we are appreciated. again!!!
Nice of them makes you really think hard about joining up :?
and joy of joys i am in the recruiting and training team.. i have to tell them about all the ways that the army will look after you if you are injured or need them. i generally pass them on to someone else for that bit
 
#17
invisiblehelper said:
Once again a thread started on an absolute pile of s***e newspaper report. Just to give an idea on the stories accuracey ..... the Officer, quoted twice as a Colonel so can't be a typo, is actually a f******g corporal! Drawn your own conclusions!
The report may be inaccurate in re the individual's rank, but the rest of the story rings true with me. The simple fact is that people who are injured in the line of duty, be they regular or reservist, are often not well looked after once they leave hospital. Although the military hospitals were closed, the MAO(CH) system (the 'admin officer' referred to in the report) has not changed, and neither has their establishment (there are very few of them). In any case, MAO(CH)'s primary role is control of medical absence. What is needed is welfare input, and regular medical oversight, but there seems to be no system for ensuring that this happens.
 
#18
invisiblehelper said:
Once again a thread started on an absolute pile of s***e newspaper report. Just to give an idea on the stories accuracey ..... the Officer, quoted twice as a Colonel so can't be a typo, is actually a f******g corporal! Drawn your own conclusions!
I started this thread, and make no apologies for quoting a report from a reputable newspaper. If the man is a Cpl rather than a Col, that is a bone error and the reporter should hang her head in shame. Good skills, invisiblehelper, in spotting this and putting the record straight on this detail.

As VB says, the rank of an injured serviceman is immaterial to the basic story which, from several other posts, does unfortunately seem to ring true in some respects.
 
#19
cdo-engr said:
i have a letter from HQ scotland saying that no TA or reservist is to be treated by the army medical services no matter where they recived the injury. and all i wanted was a bit of physio for a shoulder injury caused by an RPG on telic, and i work next to the med centre. just shows how much we are appreciated. again!!!
This is an absolute disgrace and beggars belief.

Now what can be done about it? The situation will only change if enough 'pain' is directed at politicians to embarrass them into providing funds for effective medical care. The newspaper article, whatever its inaccuracies, has provided a very useful public service and more articles highlighting similar injustices can only help build the case for such an obviously needed change.
 
#20
i will add though that i have been told that i will not get preferance through the NHS but that still doesn't help with all the loss of earnings and things.. i am getting support from my Sqn and Regt but it is further up the chain the problem is..
 

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