Another British soldier, who was wounded in an explosion in southern Afghanistan last week, has died in hospital in Birmingham.
He belonged to 33 Engineer Regiment and was seriously injured by an IED on the 11 April.
His death comes less than two weeks after Corporal Jack Stanley from the Queen's Royal Hussars (The Queen's Own and Royal Irish) died at Queen Elizabeth hospital of injuries he sustained in another attack. A total of 409 members of UK forces have died in Afghanistan since the war began in 2001.
Although the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine has won numerous awards for the work they are doing, 13 servicemen, injured in Afghanistan and Iraq, have launched compensation claims against it. The group is claiming they received below-par treatment and in some cases were misdiagnosed.
Legal experts said there was a gap between the world-class care frontline soldiers receive on the battlefield and the aftercare they get. There appears to be a weakness in the psychiatric care available, but that's not surprising because throughout the UK standards of psychiatric care vary widely and many people in need of help have to wait months for help.
A retired psychiatrist friend told me a few years ago that, although he had never treated a serving member of the military, if he had been required to do so he would have found it difficult because the trauma of serving on a front line is far more complex than most mental ailments. Mental illness is still a taboo in our society, even though one in four experience it at some time in their lives.
It's the UK government's shame that they refuse to provide a military hospital where medical services are provided under the same roof. Then psychiatrists and psychologists would be able to work closely and quickly to help those with problems. The excuse politicians make is that military-run hospitals can't match the specialist care provided by NHS hospitals, but that can easily be refuted by those who have experienced both systems in the past.
When the Duchess of York military hospital opened in Catterick in 1976, it was decided to make the services available to civilians as well as the military and their dependents. It was a small hospital but quickly gained a reputation for excellence. Civilian patients were prepared to travel from all over North Yorkshire to receive treatment. Because of its size there were limits to what services were offered but the medical and nursing care was second to none. Sadly that hospital no longer exists.
Perth Royal Infirmary is an NHS hospital. Compared with Ninewells Hospital in Dundee it is small and services have been gradually reduced over the years. Specialist care (in a few clinical areas) is available but mainly specialists visit from the larger teaching hospital twenty miles away. The lack of resident specialists does not diminish the quality of care available.
If I thought politicians would be more considered in their decisions to send our troops to war, I would not be suggesting the country should have at least one military hospital. Few of today's politicians have the foresight to assess the hidden damage of recent wars. Their grandchildren will see the results though.