Thanks to the skills of Army surgeons and medical staff and to improvements in battleground treatment, drugs and equipment, soldiers seriously injured on the frontline are now twice as likely to survive as those who fought in the Falklands.
In a report in the Journal of the Royal Army Medical Corps the Surgeon General, Lieutenant General Louis Lillywhite has said the death rate among the seriously injured was now around 12% to 15% - roughly half that in the Falklands or Vietnam. "More injured are surviving their injuries than expected, that our quality of care for the injured exceeds that which is usually found in the United Kingdom, and that almost all deaths that occurred were unavoidable."
He goes on to say that priroity must now be given to the quality of survival, that there is "much to do" to ensure that those who have survived terrible injuries are properly looked after when they return to the UK.
The implication here is that standards in recovery and rehabilitation services fall well short of what is required. Cost cutting measures have lead to the closure of dedicated military hospitals, treatment centres like DMRC Headley Court have become dependent on charity fund-raising, sufferers from PTSD are increasingly have to rely on help provided charities like Combat Stress and the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme has been severly criticised for the poor level of payments it makes.
Badly injured soldiers should not have ......
- to share understaffed civilian wards where they are at risk of further contracting MRSA and e.coli;
- to go to public swimming pools for treatment where they can be abused by members of the public;
- to be dependent on charity to get the rehabilitation facilities they need;
- to receive derisory compensation payments which make it impossible for them to have the quality of life to which they are entitled.