Army Recruits Are Being Turned Away For Minor Ailments Such As Eczema Despite Chronic Shortage Of Troops
British Army applicants are being turned away for “very minor” or nonrecurring childhood health issues, amid a chronic shortage of personnel, The Daily Telegraph can disclose.
Candidates have revealed that they were rejected because they suffered from childhood eczema or had previously experienced back pain, even though their doctors had provided supporting statements.
The disclosure will add to the growing concern about the vetting process for recruits because of problems enlisting a sufficient number of personnel.
MPs said the system should be urgently reformed.
As of April 2018, Armed Forces Regular strength was 136,770, six per cent below the required number – an increase on the -4.4 per cent in 2017.
Last year, a report commissioned by Downing Street found that 90 per cent of rejections were on medical grounds. It recommended a “comprehensive review” of the system, which it described as “one of the most important barriers to achieving the recruitment targets”.
The Telegraph understands that senior MoD officials met in April with a view to making the medical policy, known as JSP 950, “more flexible”.
The meeting focused on mental health, musculoskeletal issues and allergies, and set a target of “a couple of months” to review the whole policy.
The medical process for examining recruits is outsourced in the Army, Navy and RAF to contracting behemoth Capita, which holds several high-profile government contracts.
Rejected candidates none of whom were examined by an Armed Forces doctor, said they felt their individual circumstances had not been properly considered.
Thomas Norgate, 19, applied to join the Army Reserves in 2017, and had been participating in drills with his local unit for nine months when he was turned down after recruiters examined his medical records and noted that he had previously suffered from eczema on his hands in 2007 and forearms in 2012.