'Inspirational' soldier from South Yorkshire 'not getting care he needs'

Ben Parkinson at a remembrance service last year
Ben Parkinson at a remembrance service last year

An 'inspirational' soldier from South Yorkshire is not getting the care he requires, it has been claimed.

Lance Bombardier Ben Parkinson, from Doncaster, lost both legs and sustained numerous other wounds, leaving him with a severe brain injury, when the Land Rover in which he was travelling was blown up in Afghanistan in 2006.

The 33-year-old, who was made an MBE and is soon to be given the freedom of his home borough, is believed to be the UK's most seriously injured living serviceman.

He was awarded compensation but his mother Diane Dernie says he is 'still not receiving anywhere near the level of funding required to buy all the care he requires'.

Sheffield-based law firm Irwin Mitchell today said Mr Parkinson and his mother had instructed specialist lawyers to investigate concerns that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the NHS were failing in their duties.

The legal practice said it had helped the former paratrooper successfully fight for access to a larger payment under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme, but that this sum still fell far short of his extensive care needs.

His care package is provided by the MoD, NHS England and Doncaster Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

Irwin Mitchell said it had written to all three bodies outlining allegations that they had failed to meet his needs and properly coordinate his care provision.

Ms 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.

"We now feel like we have been left with no option but to take this step – not just for Ben but also to stop other injured personnel facing this in the future."

Mr Parkinson was not expected to survive but is making good progress and has participated in numerous fundraising challenges.

His solicitor Alice Cullingworth said Ben had become an 'inspiration' for the spirit he has shown in overcoming his injuries but he appeared to have 'fallen through the cracks' when it came to the care provided by those responsible.

"Sadly, he feels that promises made to him by the MoD are not being fulfilled," she added.

A spokesperson 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 MoD, 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."

The MoD and Doncaster CCG have all been contacted for a response.