Wounded soldiers suffering MoD secrecy

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by kennys-go-nad, Aug 18, 2006.

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  1. Wounded soldiers 'suffering MoD secrecy'
    By Thomas Harding, Defence Correspondent


    (Filed: 17/07/2006)

    Soldiers wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan are being denied vital support because the Government is refusing to release their details to charities, the Royal British Legion said yesterday.

    Injured troops, including many who are permanently maimed, are leaving the military hospital in Selly Oak, Birmingham, without being told of the assistance being offered by charities.

    In one example a lance corporal who was severely injured during a friendly fire incident in Iraq discovered that help was available only after asking where to get a wreath to lay in memory of friends killed in the incident.


    "We are simply not getting any information on numbers of wounded," said Brig Ian Townsend, the legion's director general. "We have sought the information from the Ministry of Defence on who is going through the hospital but we are simply not getting it.

    "It is one of those irritating things that could so easily be put right to the huge benefit of those in need."

    Brig Townsend has written to Tom Watson, the minister for veterans, to complain. Unlike the American government, the MoD refuses to publish full figures of injured British servicemen. Earlier this year it said 230 troops had been severely wounded. The overall figure is thought to be much higher.

    Brig Townsend has also called for the 180 service charities and 2,000 smaller ex-service organisations to merge into a single "super charity". His plan is supported by the Charity Commission.

    Vote BAFF :wink:
     
  2. Aren't there supposed to be people telling them all this? Failing that the charities should "assault" the hospital, with good tidings of what they can do.
     
  3. Picture the scene in an air-conditioned MOD office in Main Building G1 with a Nigel who's hardly wears a uniform and has never been in a fight, even in school, back from his liquid lunch talking to a Julian, his mate who's just about to disappear for a round of Golf at Finchley Golf Club!

    "One simply cannot release such information to a civilian charity for if one does so, the civilian charity becomes aware of the quantum of blasted, shot, crippled, maimed, limbless young men and women there actually are scattered around the country. One simply cannot afford to have that information in the public domain can one!

    Sorry about the chaps and all that but we simply cannot have the media stirring things up and embarrassing the Government with more campaigns of wounded heroes when they actually find out how many there, are now can we?".

    The mindset of the Nigels and the Julians of this world who sit in offices like that was graphically illustrated live before millions of television viewers on a recent documentary programme when a young injured soldier was instructing his solicitor to commence an action against the MOD who was being interviewed live on camera in her solicitors office. She got a telephone call from the Nigels and Julians in Main Building who told her that if she were to proceed, it would have 'consequences' for the soldier's continued medical treatment. The threat though implied was clear. As a solicitor, bound by her professional code, she rightly told the MOD where to get off. Not to be outdone, Nigel and Julian took the line of least resistance - the soldier himself, they rang him and made the same threat to him with the effect that he rang the solicitor, again, live on camera, and exercised his right to sack her and dispense with her services!

    When Nigel and Julian were contacted and the details put to them and a response invited from them It was Nigel and Julian who claimed not to remember the case at all and contemptuously stated, Quote: "Sorry I have the memory of a Goldfish".

    The whole purpose of the exercise is to prevent the quantity of injured soldiers being placed into the public domain and out of the scrutiny of the Press who could well even trace the individual casualties, interview them and have the true nature of their care or lack of it disclosed, that would really cause problems for the Government now wouldn't it!

    But if you consider that on average, on a rough ballpark figure, there are roughly three wounded to every fatality, it does not take the brains of Einstein to work it out does it!

    The Nigels and the Julians who sit on their arrses in Main Building are not fit to empty the bedpans of better men than they will ever be, who have displayed more courage then they will ever show and who have, man for man, something the Nigels and Julians will never possess - a spine - and who now lie broken in a hospital bed on an NHS Ward!

    Regards
    Iolis
     
  4. ViroBono

    ViroBono LE Moderator

    Wasn't the 'super charity' concept something Balleh droned on about in some of his posts on the BAFF thread? It'd never work, anyway - what will all the surplus retired senior officers do?

    Whilst not decrying the sterling work of RBL, I confess to being somewhat confused about the issue them not being provided with the details of soldiers treated at RCDM. They don't routinely get details of patients treated in MDHUs or other hospitals, and unless individual patients have consented to their details being provided I don't see how it can be done without breaching the DPA. In any case, the RBL may not be the appropriate organisation in every case. I do know that the welfare department at RCDM has the details of many support organisations and charities, including RBL, and that patients are referred as appropriate or on request, as happens elsewhere.

    The issue of MOD manipulating figures is separate, in my view.
     
  5. Surely one of these hospital liason types should mention a few of the charities out there to the injured lads?
     
  6. ViroBono

    ViroBono LE Moderator

    Which 'hospital liaison types' are these? There are hospital liaison staff in the contract hospitals in BFG, whose function is primarily translation - they have no welfare training, function or remit. RCDM has both military patient admin, staffed by mil personnel, and a military welfare department, with specialist staff.

    Remember that the problems that have been experienced by wounded soldiers have generally been post-hospital discharge. Their units, regimental headquarters and MCM Div all have a responsibility toward them - that the system has failed so often is truly lamentable.

    However, I gather that a new post has been created at RCDM to ensure that people aren't lost after they're discharged. Additionally, the new Sickness Absence Management scheme, which gets rid of the Y List and provides for long term sick and SAH to be visited regularly to ensure they are getting the correct support, starts in Oct and should make a difference.
     
  7. Whatever happened to MAOCH? (Mil Admin Officer Civil Hospitals) Or is that a post which has now disappeared?

    The argument of the consent of the soldier being a condition sine qua non of disclosure is pure sophistry with agencies that are directly responsible for his health and welfare, a fortiori in cases where If that argument were followed to it's natural conclusion, an unconscious or comatose soldier unable to give consent must have his medical records required for his treatment in an NHS hospital withheld because he has not 'consented' to their release.

    There are two forms of consent, consent that is express, and consent that is implied. A soldier implies his consent for his details to be released to those agencies that exist to effectuate his recovery! RBL is just one of those agencies.

    Since when was the consent of the soldier required to disclose his service details to SSAFA in welfare cases involving his family!

    That argument has always infuriated me!

    If MOD will not comply then an application should be submitted under the Freedom of Information Act in the first instance!

    If that does not work then directly attack the MOD's PR through the media, postulating the reasons for non-disclosure - that will have the effect it would seem to fear by withholding the information in the first place!

    The public has a greater affection for the RBL than the MOD and displays that support every poppy day. Time it for November and see just how quickly you get the details and location of every soldier!

    Why are'nt they on the distribution of NOTICAS and CASREP where details of the hospital are notified!

    Stop pussyfooting around with Nigel and Julian,they are wholly subservient to an amoral government. You are not!

    Regards and best wishes
    Iolis
     
  8. ViroBono

    ViroBono LE Moderator

    Still very much in existence, but RCDM is a military unit (albeit at a NHS hospital), and so patients only come under MAO(CH) when discharged to home address. However, MAO(CH)'s function is control of medical absence.

    Look at the 8 principles of the DPA, and the special provisions relating to 'sensitive information', which includes medical records and information relating to an individual's physical or mental health - disclosure requires specific consent. The NHS and DMS have to comply with the rules; I know because I work in this field (not at RCDM), and cannot refer an individual to RBL or anyone else without their specific consent - and quite a few refuse.

    There are specific confidentiality codes surrounding welfare provision, all of which comply with the DPA.

    'I'm afraid that's confidential' continues to infuriate some in the armed forces. In general, however, those who need to know are able to access the information.

    I suspect that any response will quote the DPA.

    Or why not just ask the individual if he minds his details being passed on?

    Because JP751 says not! Seriously, the majority of soldiers admitted to hospital do not need the services of the RBL, and to include them on the distribution of NOTICAS signals would be premature and cause unnecessary effort and waste RBL funds.

    Indeed, but the medical services are obliged to work within the law.

    I am currently undertaking a degree which includes the study of the joys of the DPA, and in many circumstances I am as frustrated as you obviously are by some of the silly rules. However, I firmly believe in individual choice and do not think that passing the personal details of every serviceman admitted to hospital is either desirable or necessary.

    Again, I think this is wholly separate to the issue of MOD attempting to disguise the numbers of people injured on ops.