Row over £6m pri­vate health­care bill

The People - - NEWS FEATURES - By Sean Ray­ment and Dan War­bur­ton by Rus­sell My­ers in My­ohyangsan, North Korea

DE­FENCE chiefs spent more than £6mil­lion on pri­vate health­care for serv­ing troops – as veter­ans bat­tled their de­mons alone.

Forces per­son­nel with con­di­tions such as PTSD, de­pres­sion and ad­dic­tion are be­ing sent to costly units due to the na­tional short­age of men­tal health beds.

Ex­perts say it highlights a dis­par­ity be­tween treat­ment given to serv­ing troops and for­mer per­son­nel who get lit­tle help.

Col Richard Kemp, ex-com­man­der of forces in Afghanistan, said: “There should not be a dis­par­ity be­tween the type of treat­ment that serv­ing sol­diers re­ceive and re­tired sol­diers are given.”

Sun­day Peo­ple re­search found 2,630 troops have been given pri­vate, tax­payer- funded treat­ment since 2015. The Min­istry of De­fence bill was re­vealed un­der Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion laws. Our Save Our Sol­diers cam­paign is de­mand­ing bet­ter sup­port for trauma-stricken troops.

One Army doc­tor told the Sun­day Peo­ple: “The Armed Forces would never have had to spend mil­lions treat­ing sol­diers in ex­pen­sive pri­vate hos­pi­tals if the NHS wasn’t in cri­sis.”

Our re­search also dis­cov­ered MOD bosses agreed to fork out for a se­ries of pri­vate cos­metic pro­ce­dures.

About £20,000 went on breast re­ducbri­tish WEL­COME to King Jong-un’s mu­seum of pro­pa­ganda, filled with gifts from 188 coun­tries in­clud­ing a bul­let­proof limou­sine from Soviet despot Stalin. Other arte­facts in­clude a gold sword from Libya’s Gaddafi – and a Wi­gan War­riors rugby shirt. The site in the My­ohyang moun­tains was built in 1978 by grand­fa­ther Kim Il-sung and houses 115,000 pieces. We were en­cour­aged to bow be­fore wax­works of Il-sung and his son and heir, Kim Jong-il. Guide Han Jong-suk told the Sun­day Peo­ple: “The ex­hi­bi­tion demon­strates how re­spected our great lead­ers are and how the supreme leader Kim Jong-un is ad­mired as the great­est leader in the world.” tion surgery for women and vir­tu­ally the same for sim­i­lar op­er­a­tions on men.

An­other went on £19,285 on tummy tucks, £9,000 was spent on fat re­moval through surgery and li­po­suc­tion and £800 cov­ered the cost of tat­too re­moval.

An MOD spokesman said: “Sec­ondary health­care for the Armed Forces is largely pro­vided by the NHS. How­ever, in the event that a lo­cal health ser­vice is not able to pro­vide a med­i­cal pro­ce­dure that is oc­cu­pa­tion­ally nec­es­sary, the case will be con­sid­ered by the MOD.”

MODEL TYRANT: Jong-il wax­work GRIZ­ZLY: Bear gift from Rus­sian firm GOLDEN: Gaddafi sword AC­CESS: Our Rus­sell with guide Han Jong-suk BIZARRE: Wi­gan War­riors jer­sey MES­SAGE: Leader Kim Jong-un

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