Ben Parkinson

Former paratrooper Ben Parkinson, who survived what are thought to be the worst-ever battlefield injuries sustained in Afghanistan has instructed lawyers to investigate concerns that the organisations responsible for his care are failing to meet his needs.

Lance Bombardier Parkinson, lost both legs and suffered more than 40 injuries, including brain damage affecting his memory and speech, in a landmine blast in 2006.

His story touched the hearts of many when he laid a wreath, in full uniform with his new full-size prosthetic legs, in his home town of Doncaster after an ongoing battle back from appalling injuries.

Now the paratrooper and his mother, Diane Dernie, are calling on the providers of his care package to explain gaps in his support and to request that more is done to help.

L/Bdr Parkinson's care is provided by the Ministry of Defence (MoD), NHS England and Doncaster Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) but Mrs Dernie said the organisations failed to properly co-ordinate her son's care.

She said the soldier also does not receive enough funding to cover the costs of around-the-clock care and lawyers said the £540,000 compensation he received is not enough to cover his "ongoing and extensive care requirements".

Legal experts at law firm Irwin Mitchell have now written to the organisations alleging a series of failings in the support the soldier and his family have received.

They have claimed the public bodies are in breach of the Armed Forces Covenant, a promise that those who serve, or have served, in the armed forces, and their families, are treated fairly.

And they allege that the MoD has failed in its duty to develop a coherent plan of care for the soldier and that NHS England and the CCG have not met their responsibilities under key legal frameworks.

Mrs Dernie said: "Considering everything that Ben has been through, it was a huge relief to secure some compensation a few years ago and we believed that Ben's care needs would be met going forward.

"Sadly we have faced a number of issues with support and it has been difficult to identify who is responsible for what parts of Ben's care. Time and again we have asked for these urgent issues to be addressed, but Ben is still not receiving anywhere near the level of funding required to buy all the care he requires."

"We now feel like we have been left with no option but to take this step - not just for Ben but also to stop other injured personnel facing this in the future."

Alice Cullingworth, the lawyer representing L/Bdr Parkinson and his mother, said: "We are concerned that there appears to be a lack of a coherent strategy regarding his care and that the provision of such support may well have fallen through the cracks between the NHS, MoD and the Doncaster CCG.

"Ben has urgent care and specialist equipment needs that Ben considers are not being properly met. Sadly, he feels that promises made to him by the MoD are not being fulfilled."

The organisations involved with providing care for L/Bdr Parkinson said they are working together.

An MoD spokeswoman said: "We work closely with veterans and service personnel to ensure they receive the appropriate level of care.

"We are developing a new initiative with the NHS to provide patient-centred support."

A spokeswoman for NHS England said: "The NHS takes the healthcare for members of the armed forces very seriously and, as a serving member, Ben Parkinson currently has a comprehensive package of care funded by the NHS and the Ministry of Defence, which will be reassessed whenever needed.

"We are working with the organisations involved to arrange appropriate reviews of Ben's ongoing care and treatment requirements."

A Doncaster CCG spokeswoman confirmed they had received the letter and are acting upon the information.