One finds much banter aired from some quarters and charities concerning assistance afforded military personnel. Even less to our Fire, Police and Ambulance personnel. Yet in my eyes a disabled patient is the same whether civilian military or EMS. Yet the disparity is alarming in relation to benefits. The Military sector receive a higher mobility allowance, yet a Police / Fire Officer may suffer the same injury and disablement and receive far less, and in addition NOT advanced through the system for treatment as military personnel are being.
Words spouted out to media by charities supposedly offering such assistance is NOT in keeping with actions and calls received at The Trauma Centre (UK) at ALL times of the DAY AND NIGHT. Those desperate very ill persons many displaying suicidal ideation, or thinking of ending their lives, need assistance NOW, not later or the reality will be they will take and end their lives. Let us hope and pray we are not going to have another repetition of this after the Falklands campaign.
I do not wish to appear alarmist in expressing after 46 years serving at the front line aiding fellow professionals and those within our civilian sector. I am frustrated at the inaccurate information even mistruths surfacing from many so called Health professionals and Government Ministers.
As soon as they open their mouths to speak on the subject(s) itemised above they are on a hiding to nothing!. The facts speak for themselves. The public of this country (UK) if such word 'United' is accurate any longer! Seemingly we are far from United?. The Prime Minister and Chancellor of Exchequer will have us believe 'WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER!' Yet many appear more despondent than ever with little assistance afforded to those diagnosed with severe Emotional states and Mental illnesses.
We at the Trauma Centre (UK) are in constant dialogue with many GENUINE agencies trying to alleviate this disturbing problem. Despite many promises given to our civilians EMS and veterans ....ALL have met with little or NOTHING.
My clinician colleagues, and many brothers and sisters in the Priesthood do so much to help survivors and their families. None of us are "GODS."
When Military personnel are DRAFTED by Government(s) and their ministers into conflict zones, it is their responsibility to care for emotional, physical and mental illness / injuries that later ensue from such actions.
Not then to expect individuals, their families and charities to bail them (the Government) out. Thus excusing the Government (Ministry of Defence) of putting their hands in their pockets to fund treatment.
Physical injuries are fairly well catered for at the fantastic Queen Elizabeth Hospital affectionately known as the 'QEII' in Birmingham. The best surgical interventions and nursing care and expertise from devoted nursing and hospital staff. Both civilian and Military Services medical and nursing teams working together.
However, emotional and mental issues culminating in Psychiatric injury termed the 'invisible injury' is seriously neglected.
All gas and gaiters I'm afraid. It befalls once again in lay mans terms that 'individuals seeking shelter, accommodation and treatment will have to locate such themselves. It appears a complete waste of time and effort seeking assistance from such agencies and many charities set up for these personnel.
Such assistance being sought for financial help has a better success rate than for any Psychological care. Physical injuries are visible they can be seen, using X Rays, CT, MRI and Psychological injury fMRI scanners.
It is strange fMRI scanners are scattered around the country yet NOT made available freely to assess if a Psychological injury or moderate brain injury is present! I wonder why?
May it be the fear of securing the definitive proof confirming a psychological or brain injury?
Or chemical poisoning from such a conflict? As from the Gulf Campaigns, presently Afghanistan? Many airline pilots misdiagnosed having suffered fume events and toxic air containing tri cresyl phosphate has been inhaled.
May it be the fear of gates being opened for Government to be sued through court actions? When and if such evidence is forthcoming then made available.
It is these (Invisible injuries) or the Emotional scarring not visible to confirm a definitive diagnosis unless the use of a Functional MRI scanner and Neurological / psychological testing is undertaken.
Quite frankly there have been so many recent mis-diagnosis made by Psychiatrists and Psychologists simply reliant on Books! Such as the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic Statistical Manual or in short APA's DSM. The version varies of course but 'Reactive Depression' was agreed upon in version II of 1968. PTSD was entered in Version III of 1980, then 1994 and the present DSM V; Yet nearly every part of both these criteria are similar? Returning to Military veterans and those serving personnel trying to secure immediate treatment! They are unlikely to receive that treatment without a long wait for an appointment with a knowledgeable and competent Consultant in PTSD.
To confirm what I state above, seek out a few veterans who are Homeless? Many Veterans end up homeless soon after discharge. Their home is the local pub where many seek alcoholic anaesthesia to rid them of their traumas.
Much banter or to use a military expression 'verbal diarrhoea' a (condition in which faeces are discharged from the bowels frequently and in a liquid form).
In 'Political circles' MPs and Ministers using worthless words, to be polite! full of empty air expelled from their mouths instead!
The Trauma Centre (UK) are in constant dialogue with many GENUINE agencies and our colleagues in Church Ministry trying to alleviate this disturbing problem. Despite many promises to these lads and girls by various Government Ministers ALL have met with literally NOTHING, but delaying and diversionary tactics.
All gas and gaiters to be honest. Falling once again on individuals to seek and locate shelter and accommodation themselves. For veterans it appears a complete and utter waste of time and effort seeking assistance from appropriate agencies and charities set up to aid these personnel. SSAFA and the RBL may help out financially, but not medically nor psychologically. To confirm what is stated above, just seek out veterans, ask them for yourselves.
This is exactly what I have done and listened to them when being treated. One aspect not understood by Government Ministers is where something has occurred during service and subject to the Official Secrets Act as in members of the Special Forces. They may be in breach of that Act if they disclose to a third party any aspect of that operation?
Who do they confide in then?
I am fortunate that having signed that Act I am able to assist them. In addition as an Episcopally ordained and valid Priest I am able to maintain everything told me in absolute strict confidence and NEVER to divulge such to ANY person not even a COURT. These brave persons can confide in me and military chaplains and avoid Counsellors even Hypnotherapists like the plague?
Who offer cures? Sorry to disappoint those clues are another mistruth by the very nature of the disorder.
Another disgraceful act by successive governments has been the total disregard of our former National Servicemen seeking a medal for their loyal service. The UK Government I am reliably informed commissioned a medal to be struck, such a die was made and medals awarded to Australian, New Zealand and Canadian former National Servicemen.
Our own NSVA (National Service) Veterans were excluded? The Government are still refusing that medal be awarded to our own brave former National Servicemen. This behaviour is disgraceful a travesty and worse a humiliation and let down.
What does this behaviour display to our newest recruits to military service? that they are to be ignored when their active service ends? It does appear so, does it not?
Veterans confirm first hand the difficulties they encounter, as outlined earlier.
Let me make it clear, I certainly do NOT include those where such difficulties have arisen through self inflicted misuse and abuse of alcohol and drugs.
Many veterans loose their jobs through no fault of their own, another smack in the face after many years of faithful and loyal service, unable to pay rent, or accommodation costs. Some enter that vicious circle. Having to find funds for their food where benefits have been removed! As new Government legislation is screwing the ill, the disabled and unemployed even tighter until they break under the strain.
In the last few months new Government legislation has for many individuals led to lack of employment opportunities, no money to pay fares to even GET TO interviews, nor to the outlying employment offices to seek work.
If they were successful to secure employment, due to inflationary fares on public transport this becomes another handicap they will face.
Many living in rural and isolated areas without personal transport rely solely on public transport. It is these persons who really are at a disadvantage. If and when offered employment where shift duties are required, the transport infrastructure may not commence until after their shift starts.
If on a night duty for example shifts which end at 6am many have to then wait 2 hours for the first available bus / transport to reach their homes?
We seem worse off these days with public transport than in the early 60s. Yet pay extortionate rates to use such poor transport Services. At least in the 60s we had night trains, and buses the very least they would run until midnight, with early trains and buses.
Fares are astronomical in many instances taking somewhere near 30% of their monthly wage?. It really has become a vicious circle indeed.
Little wonder so many are reporting to GPs with related illnesses of Depression and Anxiety. No matter how many tablets or whatever medication be prescribed IT WILL NEVER alleviate the disorders, nor symptoms if their monetary situation is NOT addressed.
This is the reality of what is happening YET I do not hear Organisations and Charities speaking up challenging these hardships and most stupid laws and regulations spouted out everyday like a paper mill exercise by MPs and Government Ministers. All promises and empty words with no action it appears.
Would it not be a good gesture to open up some of these obsolete Military camps as accommodation blocks which I have aired now for over ten years? for many homeless military and civilian individuals. I am sure there are many skilled craftsmen amongst them, who could do so much even in the local communities.
I have recently heard of a former very skilled military naval man and former fireman having his benefits removed by a particular date and told he is fit to go to work. It seems that assessment was made by a "MIDWIFE" who submitted the report?. The individual has chronic PTSD and tendencies when under pressure to "explode" not intentionally, but these are symptoms of PTSD that people present with and have difficulties coping with to prevent such explosive actions.
Another reason maybe for many ex military personnel now serving prison terms.
Piling all these extra pressures upon disabled, sick and vulnerable individuals is NOT HELPING it is INFLAMING an already existing illness. Let us all hope that in 2016 ALL agencies and charities pertaining to assist these patients will indeed get together around a meeting table, thrash out and arrive at a reasonable solution to solve this ever increasing problem and to relieve many of this disorder, and the illnesses within our country.
Let us ALL take these matters seriously, maybe then some of the large high paid salaries and bonuses awarded to Executive Bank staff, large corporate managers could be better used alleviating these most miserable and no hope situations for many hurting souls.
Let us start to do SOMETHING united together. To restore a sense of self esteem and worth to all these individuals, that's all they seek. The rest they can deal with and once again may walk tall and proud in our country. To be treated as equals.
No more no less.
Equal to ALL lesser than NONE.
Time will tell!
David Bennett (Director)
Trauma Centre ( UK)
© David Bennett 2016
Phone: +44 (0) 1792 521063
Address: 17 Ruggles Terrace,
Swansea, SA6 7JB, Wales.
NHS Independent Service Provider No. 8WF28