There has been barely any mention in the news of the terrible life-changing injuries sustained by British Armed Forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. It is very difficult to obtain accurate figures which suggests a degree of duplicity; additionally the figures that are available are incomplete and do not tell the whole tragic story. Last year alone 4200 very seriously wounded personnel were ‘casualty evacuated’ out of theatre to receive outstanding dedicated medical attention at Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham.
This figure does not include fatalities or indeed other less seriously injured people who were treated in situ initially before being returned to home shores. Neither are the figures for those who die during treatment after repatriation readily available.
Many of the homeless people existing on our streets are there because their lives have been irrevocably altered during active service. No longer able to cope with ‘normal’ life they have been abandoned by the state and reduced to begging. It is understood that General Sir Richard Dannatt, Chief of the General Staff, bringing to the attention of Gordon Brown the plight of returning injured and damaged men and women, was told that any monetary help would not be provided by him. This smacks of a washing of hands by the Government. There is little or no Government support for the victims and their families who must rely on charities for assistance. Help for Heroes, SSAFA, The Royal British Legion, BLESMA are just a few of the many organisations delivering advice and support. Communities throughout the United Kingdom are forming local charities to help alleviate the suffering of their disabled citizens’ blighted lives.
It is time for the Government to cease its reliance on charities and take responsibility for the ongoing care of the young men and women whose minds and bodies have been shattered in the service of their country.