Soldiers injured in Iraq War were let down by lack of dedicated health facilities, Chilcot report finds

BMJ 2016; 354 doi: (Published 07 July 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;354:i3801
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. London

The Iraq War was the first major military operation by Britain after the closure of military hospitals, and it showed up failings in the system devised to replace them, the Chilcot inquiry has found.1

Injured soldiers repatriated from Iraq were treated alongside NHS patients at Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham, part of the University Hospital Birmingham Trust where the Ministry of Defence had established the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine.

The inquiry found nothing to criticise in the care soldiers received but said that they were unhappy at being separated from other soldiers and lacked peer support. By 2006, senior military officers believed that this had become a threat to soldiers’ wellbeing: they wanted to be treated in a military environment “within which they can be with their mates, be looked after by named military nurses, and be treated like soldiers,” Freddie Viggers, then adjutant general, reported in …

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