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Former Service Personnel: Amputees

Volume 644: debated on Monday 9 July 2018

5. What support his Department provides to former service personnel who have had limbs amputated as a result of their military service. (906317)

I am sure you will be familiar, Mr Speaker, with the significance of the battle of Solferino in 1859 when it comes to looking after our casualties. Tens of thousands of casualties were left for dead there and that was observed by Jean-Henri Dunant, who went on to form the international Red Cross. Today, we do provide support for those who are injured on the battlefield, but even faster we move them into state-of-the-art hospitals, such as we saw in Helmand province. Some of them end up losing a limb or more, and we need to make sure that we look after these brave veterans for the rest of their lives.

In 2011, Paul lost his left arm when injured by an improvised explosive device. He wrote about how he did not know how to go forward and did not want to leave the house, but he got everything back that the military offered him: confidence, camaraderie, teamwork and the chance to compete through an inspirational golfing charity, the On Course Foundation. Will the Minister agree to visit that charity and accept an invitation to see the American and British ex-servicemen compete for the Simpson cup, which is named after the founder John Simpson and will be played next year at the Royal & Ancient golf club between 19 and 22 May?

I endorse absolutely the On Course Foundation and what it does. Such organisations and the Invictus games have shown us that there is a new chapter to be had and a new direction for those who have been injured in terms of what they can do through sport. Prince Harry is very involved in that. I would be more than delighted to accept my right hon. Friend’s invitation and I pay tribute to the work that has been done by John Simpson.

We know how important it is to link up the armed forces with the NHS, particularly for personnel who have suffered life-changing injuries. What steps has the Minister taken to strengthen those links?

The hon. Gentleman raises an important point. Not only the Ministry of Defence, but other Departments have a responsibility in this regard. That is why we have set up the veterans board, but for those who have lost limbs or who have had severe injuries there is integrated personal commissioning for veterans. That makes sure that all the agencies that are required to support and individual through their life provide better access to help our brave veterans.