UK

Specsavers Employee Suspended After Veteran Allegedly Accused Of ‘Killing Innocent People’

A member of staff at an opticians has been suspended pending investigation after allegedly questioning why a veteran should receive priority treatment and accusing the former soldier of "killing innocent people".

Steve Leale, who served with the British Army for 32 years, says he visited a Specsavers store in Woodbridge, Suffolk, earlier this month for a checkup and was told he would need to be referred to hospital for an appointment.

Veterans are entitled to priority access to NHS care, which includes hospital, primary or community care for conditions associated with their time in the Armed Forces.

Mr Leale wrote on social media: "I was stood in the main area the optician came to find me and said, 'Mr Leale I will refer you to the hospital for your left eye'.

"I then asked her to annotate my documents to show the fact I’m a veteran, she then turned to me and asked why so I explained the supposedly faster appointment.

"She then said 'why should you have that after invading countries around the world and killing innocent people'."

Steve Leale's post on Facebook
Mr Leale's post on Facebook (Picture: Facebook/Steve Leale).

Mr Leale said he was left "gobsmacked" and "totally disgusted" by the incident. 

He added he "did not retaliate" and went onto file a complaint with the company.

Specsavers has since launched an investigation into the incident and have suspended the employee while the inquiry is carried out. 

A Specsavers spokesperson said: "An employee has been suspended pending a disciplinary investigation into comments made to a customer at the Woodbridge store.

"The alleged comments do not represent the views of Specsavers, who are active supporters of Blind Veterans UK, a charity which cares for former military personnel with sight problems."

Blind Veterans UK said in a statement: "Specsavers have been a partner of Blind Veterans UK for the last five years. They have supported the charity through many of our campaigns and directly referred veterans to receive our support.

"Stores across the country have also been instrumental in raising money to help support our veterans by holding themed days and activities which both staff and the public are actively involved.

"We are sure that the alleged comments do not represent the views of Specsavers and look forward to continuing this successful partnership for many years to come."