Soldier who survived devastating injuries in Afghanistan 'not getting enough care'

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A soldier who survived landmine horrific injuries in Afghanistan has asked lawyers to investigate failings in his care, saying he is not given enough funds for essentials.

Lance Bombardier Ben Parkinson, 33, lost both legs and suffered more than 40 injuries, including brain damage affecting his memory and speech, in a blast in 2006.

The paratrooper, from Doncaster, South Yorkshire, and his mother, Diane Dernie, are now urging care organisations to explain gaps in his support and to demand that more be done to help.

L/Bdr Parkinson’s care is provided by the Ministry of Defence (MoD), NHS England and Doncaster Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), but Mrs Dernie said the organisations failed to properly coordinate her son’s care.

She said the soldier also does not receive enough funding to cover around-the-clock care.

Lawyers meanwhile said the £540,000 compensation he received is not enough to pay for his “ongoing and extensive care requirements”.

Legal experts at law firm Irwin Mitchell have now written to the organisations alleging a series of failings, claiming that they are in breach of the Armed Forces Covenant – a promise that those who serve or have served in the armed forces, as well as their families, are treated fairly.

They also allege that the MoD has failed in its duty to develop a coherent plan of care for the soldier and that NHS England and the CCG have not met their responsibilities under key legal frameworks.

Mrs Dernie said: “Considering everything that Ben has been through, it was a huge relief to secure some compensation a few years ago and we believed that Ben’s care needs would be met going forward.

“Sadly we have faced a number of issues with support and it has been difficult to identify who is responsible for what parts of Ben’s care.

“Time and again we have asked for these urgent issues to be addressed, but Ben is still not receiving anywhere near the level of funding required to buy all the care he requires.”

She said they had “no option” but to pursue legal remedies.

Alice Cullingworth, the lawyer representing L/Bdr Parkinson and his mother, said: “We are concerned that there appears to be a lack of a coherent strategy regarding his care and that the provision of such support may well have fallen through the cracks between the NHS, MoD and the Doncaster CCG.

“Ben has urgent care and specialist equipment needs that Ben considers are not being properly met. Sadly, he feels that promises made to him by the MoD are not being fulfilled.”

The organisations involved with providing care for L/Bdr Parkinson said they are working together.

An MoD spokeswoman said: “We work closely with veterans and service personnel to ensure they receive the appropriate level of care.

“We are developing a new initiative with the NHS to provide patient-centred support.”

A spokeswoman for NHS England said: “The NHS takes the healthcare for members of the armed forces very seriously and, as a serving member, Ben Parkinson currently has a comprehensive package of care funded by the NHS and the Ministry of Defence, which will be reassessed whenever needed.

“We are working with the organisations involved to arrange appropriate reviews of Ben’s ongoing care and treatment requirements.”

A Doncaster CCG spokeswoman confirmed they had received the letter and are acting upon the information.

Reporting by Press Association


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