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Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 May 2006, 10:07 GMT 11:07 UK
'I had no support when I came home'
Scott Garthley
Scott Garthley was happy to serve in Iraq

The Ministry of Defence has pledged to improve the care for reservist troops called up to serve alongside regular forces.

Scott Garthley was a Territorial Army soldier who served in Iraq.

Mr Garthley, from Northampton, was injured in a Scud missile attack on March 29 2003.

His spine, knees and shoulders were injured, and he has since had 13 operations.

He has felt he had to pay for all his own healthcare, because he was not entitled to fast-track military care because he was not a full-time soldier.

I was TA who was mobilised as a regular, but I wasn't entitled to the fast-track medical care available to a regular

Mr Garthley still experiences post traumatic stress disorder and depression, and has developed insulin-dependent diabetes and high blood pressure.

He told the BBC: "When I returned to the UK, I felt I had no support from the Ministry of Defence in respect of my healthcare.

"The first time I had an appointment to receive army medical treatment wasn't until November, eight months after my original injuries."

'Civvy Street'

Mr Garthley said he had expected more help.

"In retrospect, I can see that I was naive. It was never discussed.

"Certainly, nobody really wanted to know when I came back."

Research, published in The Lancet on Tuesday, suggests reservist soldiers like Mr Garthley receive far less support and healthcare than full-time troops.

The paratrooper said: "I have come across regular soldiers who have not been treated much better.

"But as a regular, you do get the benefit of being at a garrison, with your friends and family, who are more used to the military life.

"While returning to civilian life, with people who can't understand what it's like to have gone through what you've gone through."

Mr Garthley said he had written to the MoD to ask about his treatment.

"I was TA who was mobilised as a regular, but I wasn't entitled to the fast-track medical care available to a regular.

"But I was doing the same job and so would have expected the same support, especially given the difficulties of going back to Civvy Street."

Mr Garthley, who is now disabled, earned a six-figure salary as human resources executive in a bank before his injuries.

"I used to run three miles, twice a day. Now I can't run at all. I can't even walk half a mile."

He added: "I wanted to go to Iraq. But I never expected to lose my life as a consequence."


SEE ALSO:
More medical aid for reservists
16 May 06 |  Health
'No one cause' for Gulf illness
24 Mar 06 |  Health
Gulf War veteran wins test appeal
01 Nov 05 |  Beds/Bucks/Herts
Q&A: Gulf War illness
17 Nov 04 |  Health


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