The most seriously wounded British soldier from the war in Afgjanistan is to sue the Army after claiming that defence chiefs cut his pay, put vital medical treatment in jeopardy – and failed to provide him with wheelchairs.
Lance Bombardier Ben Parkinson, 33, who suffered devastating injuries when he was blown up by the Taliban, is to bring the legal action after what his family last night described as years of broken promises and ‘deception’ by top brass over his care.
The former paratrooper was not expected to survive after losing both legs and suffering brain damage when his Land Rover hit an anti-tank mine in Helmand Province in 2006. His recovery, which has included learning to walk and talk again, has astounded doctors.
He was allowed to stay in uniform and has been held up as an example of the Army’s commitment to wounded troops.
But today The Mail on Sunday reveals the shocking story of Ben’s struggle for basic equipment and specialist care. Now, his furious family is suing the Ministry of Defence for Breach of Statutory Care.
As a serving soldier, Ben is not allowed to talk to the media. Speaking on his behalf, his mother Diane Dernie, 60, said: ‘Under an agreement reached with us and the NHS in 2016, the MoD is supposed to provide Ben’s wheelchairs, prosthetic limbs and specialist medical services not available to us locally on the NHS.
‘We have learned, contrary to what the Army has told us, that charities have provided two of Ben’s wheelchairs from funds donated by the public. This was a deception on their part.
Under a 2007 agreement, Ben and other severely wounded soldiers were permitted to stay in the Army. This meant that Ben continued to be paid. However, top brass have gradually cut his wages. His mother said he was earning several hundred pounds a month less than when he was blown up in 2006. This was not denied last night by the MoD.
Mrs Dernie said: ‘Issues like his pay being reduced, the Army’s failure to sign up to an agreement for Ben’s lifelong care needs and his wheelchairs being paid for by military charities, has been very distressing.’