An inspirational Doncaster paratrooper who was seriously injured during a tour of duty in Afghanistan more than a decade ago has instructed specialist lawyers to investigate concerns that bodies including the Ministry of Defence (MoD) are not doing enough to meet his care needs.
Lance bombardier Ben Parkinson, 33, was not expected to survive when he suffered a severe brain injury and lost both his legs after the Land Rover he was travelling struck by an anti-tank mine in the North of Helmand Province in Afghanistan in September 2006.
However, despite the severity of his injuries, Ben has taken major steps towards recovery with the military injuries team at Irwin Mitchell helping him to successfully fight for access to a larger payment under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme.
But this compensation falls far short of his ongoing and extensive care requirements. He has been told by doctors that he will require 24-hour care for the rest of his life.
His care package is provided by a combination of the MoD, NHS England and the Doncaster Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), but he and his mother Diane Dernie recently instructed Irwin Mitchell’s Public Law and Human Rights team on the basis that the organisations had failed to meet his needs and to properly co-ordinate this care provision.
The legal experts at Irwin Mitchell have now issued a letter to those organisations alleging a series of failings in the support that Ben and his family have received, including that the MoD has failed in its duty to develop a coherent plan of care for the soldier and that both NHS England and CCG have not met their responsibilities under key legal frameworks.
They also allege the public bodies are in breach of the Armed Forces Covenant, which encapsulates the moral obligation owed towards to those who serve in the armed forces.
Alice Cullingworth, the specialist public lawyer at Irwin Mitchell who is acting for Ben and his mother, said: “Ben has made an incredible recovery from the serious injuries he suffered in Afghanistan and has gone on to become an inspiration known across the UK for the spirit he has shown to overcome so many challenges.
“Despite this, 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.
Ben’s mother, Diane, 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."