Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Military Hospitals - what a fucking Tory/Labour cock-up


With the abject failure this government has provided for the armed forces in the form of the broken Military Covenant, Chinooks, Vectors Vehicles, Snatch Land Rovers, Airbus A400M, Jackal, Pinzgauer High Mobility All-Terrain Vehicle, The Viking and many many others - all this coming from a nation who once upon a time was extremely proud of its military engineering.

If they are going to politicise the procurement of military hardware to the detriment of serving personnel then surely, one would have thought (grown out of common sense), they would have provided space and care for the injured soldiers (the dead ones are another matter) when they came back to the UK, there are roughly 150 or so injured soldiers arriving to Selly Oak in Birmingham each month and they have 14 beds.

Normally the ills and evils and mischief and malaise of this decade have been born out of the political tragedy that is New Labour. But the failure of the care for military personnel is, believe it or not, not one of their many many misdeeds.

Seven of the eight military hospitals have closed since a Tory government review in the early 1990s and the last in Haslar, Hants, shut last year. Now of course since a British government is not bound by the decisions of a previous government they could have overturned these decisions taken by Major and Co. They did not, well it is at least good to know that Labour are not being hypocritical in their stance towards the armed forces; they truly could not care less.

What happened in the early 90's then you might wonder, why were the Tories so rash in their decisions to close down the military hospitals and shrink the size of the defence medical services? Well certainly the Cold War was at its end and subsequently it was assumed that all the evils of the world had gone away with the Soviet autocracy. Perhaps they thought Perestroika and Glasnost meant Peace and Prosperity to the western world?

Down to business then, the Defence review called in 1990 -one year after the wall fell- was aptly named "Options for change" (change has become the new synonym for 'completely shatter what is working and replace with something completely unfit for purpose'). The reason given for closing these sometimes two centuries old units was that servicemen could be better cared for by civilian NHS personal with their specialist equipment and specialist personnel, apparently. Yes the NHS is certainly specialist in one thing and that is complete and utter mismanagement.

These are the wards that have closed:

1. Cambridge Military Hospital, Aldershot (formerly Army hospital), closed in 1996.

2. Princess Mary’s Hospital, Halton, Bucks (formerly RAF), closed in 1996.

3. Duchess of Kent’s Military Hospital Catterick (formerly Army, closed in 1999.

4. Queen Elizabeth Military Hospital, Woolwich (formerly Army), closed in 1996.

5. Princess Alexandra Hospital, Wroughton, Swindon (formerly RAF), closed in 1995.

6. Royal Naval Hospital, Stonehouse (formerly Royal Navy), closed in 1995.

7. Princess of Wales Hospital, Ely (formerly RAF), closed in 1992.

8. Nocton Hall, Nocton (formerly RAF), closed in 1995.

(ohh did I mention that they were closed because the Tories wanted to save £500 million over 10 years - we now have a gaping hole in the defence budget of over £2 billion. I am glad it all worked out for them.)

As you might have imagined the utter folly of this decision has had dire consequences for servicemen around the world since there is just not enough place for them all. The decision was taken so that the government could save money and undoubtedly spend it on something else which would benefit themselves rather than the people - this seems to have been the general trend since Heath, I wanted to say Atlee but he did provide for free universal education which is always useful. Not even Sir Mike, the former head of the Army, thought this was a good idea - he was terribly accommodating when it came to giving away British armed forces to the EU but that is another story.

A group of people (well, all 113,973 of them) petitioned the Prime Minister to Create a dedicated Military & Veterans Hospital within the UK.

What was the response? (well what do you think...)

I shall provide two for your:

In a blatant lie
:

"MILITARY top brass have snubbed calls for a hospital dedicated to Britain’s Armed Forces and veterans, the Daily Express can reveal today.
In a pointed rebuff to UK troops, they insist current NHS provision is adequate and defiantly refuse to see the need for a specialist military medical unit.
The Army’s most senior medical officer has said the case is now closed and he is not willing to discuss the issue any further."

Nr. 10 was not much better:

"In terms of providing a dedicated hospital for veterans, it is worth noting that since 1948 it has been the policy of successive Governments that the NHS should be the main provider of health care for veterans. The range of general medical treatment required by veterans is in most cases no different from other civilians, and it would be wrong to expect them to travel large distances to receive treatment at a single hospital, especially when excellent care is already provided closer to their home and families."

Gordon.. just because successive governments have indulged in the same idea does not mean it is a good idea. As for the medical officer well he seems like a delightful fellow clearly the man the squaddies should talk to when they come back from operations (which are set to get worse this year) with their gun in one hand and their leg in the other, and cannot get appropriate treatment but have to be heckled by not-so-intelligent members of the Muslim community who cannot see the difference between the the decision makers (those who started the war) and those who are only following orders.

The Tories running slogan today is "time for change" and on their webpage they claim they will "will repair the broken Military Covenant, respect our Armed Forces, and ensure that Forces’ families and veterans are taken care of". If they plan on staying more than four years I do hope that they reconsider their early mistake of the 90's or they might just find themselves without its armed forces when the going gets tough on the streets.

Update: The above post is one of my old, but seeing as the subject is again on the table I thought it appropriate to repost it so that people can see what complete fucking abject failures have ruled this country and which retarded mongs currently run it. If you want a more detailed analysis of how precarious the situation currently is, I suggest you read this article from the Telegraph,
The numbers of wounded troops treated at the main British military hospital in Afghanistan, Camp Bastion, rose from 131 in 2008 to 300 from just January to October last year as operations intensified. Commanders are warning a renewed push will lead to a surge in casualties.
In the UK, those returning to Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham and later being referred for rehabilitation to Headley Court in Surrey virtually doubled in the same period.
I am not alone in being utterly disgusted, amongst others, Subrosa has also touched the subject and being equally enraged. All I will finally add is that for the governments sake, old and present, I hope that the squaddies never make the logical connection between a defence minister's head and the SA80. The former has the power to do something, regardless of what they say -they are ministers of the Crown- that virtue gives them power, they are just too spineless/ball-less to do anything which does not benefit their political career.

10 comments:

subrosa said...

An excellent article Spitfire.

Not only were all these UK hospitals closed but all European military hospitals. The loss of medical talent was little recorded. Many refused to join the NHS because the standards were so diminished and the discipline non existent. Of the few who did most left within a short time.

The care in military hospitals was second to none. Returning to NHS civilian medical care is a shock to any ex-military person.

I could go on and on about this but I won't bore you. :)

Yentie said...

You missed Nocton hall off the list of closed military hospitals.

All Seeing Eye said...

As someone who was based at Haslar - on a department which specialised in diagnosing conditions more likely to be found in active servicemen rather than the A&E drunks that most hospitals get landed with, I've got to say that we jumped through every hoop we could to stay open. Its a shame that Sir Peter Viggers will only ever be remembered for his duck house because he was a robust champion of our place and in our eyes remains a staunch ally in a messy and foolish closure.

The irony for the quick-buck savings merchants is that now no-one wants the 1750's buildings and grounds, and the old corridors where we used to save lives are now filled with rubbish, rats and memories. The team on my Dept are spread across a dozen different hospitals with only a few still working in our niche discipline, so the art of treating radiation injuries is being lost because it isn't something you're likely to be called on to to do at A&E on a Friday night in Birmingham. Only a military hospital could sustain that sort of speciality and once it's gone then it's gone.

Most serving medics are a bit special. Of the three VCs with bar, two went to the RAMC. We were deployed where and when we were needed, and occasionally someone didn't make it back afterwards. Unless your civvy hospital has a few TA who get the call every now and then, its just not a scenario that non-serving medics can relate to, and therefore not one they can treat as appropriately or empathise with when confronted by Forces casualties.

Similarly, no civvy would be able to relate to the grim horror of the Haslar Club pay day disco and subsequent wobble back to F Block, but those are stories for elsewhere!

BZ RNMB

Mrs R said...

And today they announced some "units" to care for soldiers. They say it's a good idea.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8510404.stm

13th Spitfire said...

Mind you, this government will only be remembered for one thing and one thing ony; its complete and utter destruction of the UK as we knew it.

Eye, I am working on a few things to try to get the establishment aware of the need for armed forces hospitals. You have any suggestions then please mail me.

Anonymous said...

You also missed the RAF Hospital at Ely from your list.

13th Spitfire said...

FFS... noted, cheers

Yentie said...

Anonymous, RAF(H)Ely is no. 7 on the list above, it was renamed before closed.

marry said...

Blogs are so informative where we get lots of information on any topic. Nice job keep it up!!
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news games said...

Is almost unbelievable that something like this happens :((.... I still remember how proud my father was when talking about military hospitals