This year in front of his platoon
same – the service ethos is missing. During the Iraq and Afghan campaigns extensive use was made of reservists and NHS volunteers, but that is only papering over the cracks in regular recruiting. These gaps need to be addressed now or otherwise it will not be lack of soldiers and equipment that constrain a future operational deployment but the lack of medical care.”
Former head of the Armed Forces Lord Richards said: “These figures are extremely worrying. Faith in our medics is at the heart of high combat morale and military effectiveness.
“This situation must be put right quickly and comprehensively.”
Colonel Glynn Evans, chairman of the British Medical Association’s Armed Forces Committee, said: “It is extremely concerning.
“Our servicemen and women are all taught to recognise signs of mental ill-health in themselves and others and to raise it.
“But there’s no point in them raising it if we can’t deliver the care they need. Key to that are mental health workers, psychiatrists and psychologists.
“In PTSD the role of psychologists
in the long-term treatment and healing is invaluable. Psychiatrists can prescribe drugs. But non-drug treatment is probably the most beneficial.”
The Sunday People’s Save Our Soldiers campaign is calling for a radical shake-up over the handling of PTSD.
Jeff Williams, a former Royal Marine Commando who runs the Veterans United Against Suicide group, said: “How many have to die before the Government wakes up and does something. The MOD is in denial.”
Our investigation also revealed a serious shortage of specialist doctors
and surgeons in all areas such as orthopaedics, plastics and burns plus anaesthetics. Yesterday a Ministry of Defence spokesman said: “We remain committed to ensuring we have the right skills at every level and in every field of the armed forces and we have a range of initiatives to make sure we attract and keep the people we need. “The Surgeon General regularly engages with the single services to ensure that we are maximising recruitment and retention of valuable medical staff.”
Voice of the Sunday People: P14