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Sitrep: 'Totally Impractical’ To Loosen Military Medical Entry Requirements

BFBS Defence Analyst Christopher Lee warned against making up shortfalls by loosening the medical entry requirements.

Anonymous troops with Union Jack CREDIT MoD

This week, the BFBS Sitrep podcast looked at the British Army’s announcement that it was set to hit its recruitment targets for the first time in eight years.

It may come as good news, but has it come at the cost of compromises?

On the latest episode (available on Spotify and Apple Podcasts), BFBS Defence Analyst Christopher Lee warned against making up shortfalls by loosening the medical entry requirements.

“I think it’s totally impractical, I mean if you’re going to send soldiers off with an inhaler in their back pocket, that’s a bit tricky," Mr Lee said.

“You don’t bring the standards down, you have standards there not because you inherited them from the First World War or something, you have standards there because you desperately need them."

One of the changes that has been made to help reach the Army's recruitment target is a relaxation of some strict medical rules for conditions including asthma, eczema, and particular musculoskeletal conditions.

Despite the Army's announcement earlier this week, the service still remains 10% below full strength.

The Army has released its latest recruitment campaign (Picture: British Army).
The Army released its new recruitment campaign in January (Picture: British Army).

Mr Lee also called for selective recruiting to meet the needs of certain areas.

“If you’re looking for 'techies', then you’ve got to make sure the 'techies' are going through at a faster rate than, let’s say, infantry - who you can come by once every fortnight,” he said.

“The Navy’s still got a shortfall and the RAF still needs a lot of ground crew as well, so let’s wait and see how the other two services respond.”

Giving his recommendations, Mr Lee said the focus should now, instead, be on those taking over recruitment from Capita in two years time.

He recommended that the Army should “get in alongside” the next company in charge of recruitment and ask “have we got the right way of progressing people?”

You can hear the programme live on Thursdays on BFBS Radio 2 at 16:30 (UK time) and at 18:30 (UK time) BFBS via DAB+ across the UK. 

Listen online and via our radio App in the UK and overseas.  Hear BFBS also on FM in Scotland, Colchester, Salisbury Plain, Aldershot, Catterick, Brize Norton, Lisburn, Holywood and Aldergrove and Blandford Forum in the UK and on all overseas stations. 

On Sky Channel 0211/Freesat 786.

Click here to listen live.

Cover Image: Anonymous British troops (Picture: MOD).