Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

MoD 'Bid to Stifle Complaints of Wounded Troops'

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

MoD 'Bid to Stifle Complaints of Wounded Troops'

Article excerpt

Byline: ANDREW GILLIGAN

THE Ministry of Defence is threatening soldiers wounded in Iraq that they will suffer "consequences in medical treatment" if they go public about major failures in their care.

Officials are trying to prevent the exposure of widespread problems in the care system for Iraq veterans.

But a damning classified report to the head of the Army, General Sir Mike Jackson, leaked to the Evening Standard and Channel 4's Dispatches, admits some Iraq casualties are "receiving insufficient care".

The failings are causing wounded soldiers suffering, distress and pain.

The investigation can also reveal that the MoD has repeatedly misled Parliament and the public over Iraq casualties. The true figure is at least a third higher than the MoD claims.

Hilary Meredith, solicitor for a wounded soldier who was threatened, said today that her client, who has a serious spinal injury, was left untreated in severe pain for months.

Ms Meredith said she was " absolutely outraged" by the threat against her client, delivered directly to her in a phone call by an MoD official.

The MoD last night admitted the conversation had taken place.

Other cases include that of Private Neil Spencer, from Newport, Gwent, whose hand and arm were damaged in a suicide bombing. Pte Spencer says he did not get the treatment he needed for more than nine months, with the result that he is to have two fingers amputated.

"Fighting for your country is the easy bit. It's fighting the Government for the treatment you're entitled to that's hard," he said.

Private Chris Thompson, from Co Durham, whose leg had to be amputated after a landmine attack, says he was "dumped" at home for two years after the operation with little contact from the Army. Pte Thompson, 20, said: "There I was fighting for Queen and country and you're tossed out of the window, basically. …

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