Charities criticise poor healthcare for injured troops

Inadequate treatment for troops

09.10.2006

Charities helping soldiers wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan have attacked plans for treating them being drawn up by the Ministry of Defence, describing them as inadequate.

Under pressure the MoD has agreed to set up a "military-managed ward" at Selly Oak hospital in Birmingham, which includes the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine. Soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan already admitted to the hospital have been sharing wards with civilians.

This is just one of the measures that will be announced in response to the growing pressure from military medics and service charities, but some have made it clear they do not believe the measures go far enough.

Former military officers say separate military wards were part of a deal made within the MoD when the decision to close military hospitals was taken by the Conservative government 10 years ago. But the deal was never implemented, and introducing just one Selly Oak ward is unlikely to be enough.

The MoD have also been criticised for not being proactive in ensuring wounded soldiers and their families know how to contact service charities as quickly as possible. There is apparent suspicion among service charities that the MoD is concerned that armed forces personnel will be given information about pensions, compensation and medical care.

Under a plan agreed by the MoD, charities will now be able to hand a letter to every member of the armed forces who might need their help, rather than relying on a simple list of the charities provided at the back of a ministry booklet.

Future plans for consideration include members of the armed forces being able to sign a consent form agreeing to have their names sent straight to charities such as the British Legion and the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association.

Despite these proposals, the MoD still believes ill and wounded armed services personnel will receive the best care in civilian hospitals, who can offer multi-disciplinary teams across a full range of medical specialisms.

Irwin Mitchell has a specialist team of solicitors who regularly advise members of the Army, Royal Navy and RAF in respect of personal injury claims against the MoD. Irwin Mitchell's Armed Forces team has successfully recovered compensation for military personnel who have sustained injuries as a result of accidents while on operational tours, exercise, adventure training or while off duty. Investigating any claim against the MoD can be difficult and complex, and Irwin Mitchell supports any initiative that will improve the medical care of injured Service personnel and ensure they are fully informed about their legal rights and options in respect of compensation claims, pensions and medical care.

Can we help you with a claim? If you or someone you know has been affected by a similar issue please visit our armed forces section to find out how we can help.