Veterans

Government Accused Of 'Seriously Failing' Medically Discharged Veterans

Almost half of those surveyed said they were discharged without being given a diagnosis or treatment.

A total of 36,696 service personnel have been medically discharged from the British military over the last two decades (Picture: PA). 

The Government is being accused of "seriously failing" tens of thousands of military veterans who have been medically discharged from service.

Armed Forces charity Help for Heroes is calling for an independent review of the discharge process which was described as "negative" by 70% of veterans it spoke to.

More than 60% of veterans felt they did not receive enough support while transitioning into civilian life, the report found.

Meanwhile, almost half of those surveyed said they were discharged without being given a diagnosis or treatment.

50% of veterans said they did not know how to continue treatment after being medically discharged.

Help for Heroes is calling for an independent review into the medical discharge process (Picture: PA).

Mel Waters, CEO of Help for Heroes, said: "The medical discharge process is seriously failing those who are let down by major inconsistencies in support, so we’re calling on the Government to commission an independent review of the process to close those gaps.

"With the public’s support, we’re on a mission to ensure every wounded hero has the best opportunity to stand strong in civilian life."

According to the Ministry of Defence (MOD), nearly 40,000 people have been medically discharged from the Armed Forces over the past 20 years.

Medical discharges have accounted for 9% of all discharges (400,000) over the period.

RAF Chinook in Afghanistan
The MOD said the discharges reflect the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan (Picture: Crown Copyright).

An MOD spokesperson told Forces News: "Our Armed Forces do a dangerous job in keeping this country safe and anyone who is medically discharged receives bespoke support to help them back into civilian life.

"Fewer than 2% of personnel who have served in the Armed Forces over the last 20 years were medically discharged.

"When someone is injured, wounded or sick, in most cases, they are medically downgraded in order to allow for treatment, recovery and rehabilitation."

The MOD argued the 36,696 medical discharges over the past 20 years is reflected by a "period of high operational tempo, including conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan".  

According to a report by the MOD earlier this year, 82% of service personnel said they were satisfied with their access to medical care.