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Last Updated: Friday, 31 August 2007, 15:45 GMT 16:45 UK
Injured soldiers 'need more help'
By Richard Baynes
Scotland Live
BBC Radio Scotland

Many personnel have been injured in Iraq and Afghanistan
The Ministry of Defence should do more to help injured servicemen and women coming home to Scotland, according to veterans' charities.

There is now a steady flow of injured troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.

For every soldier reported dead, four return home injured.

Conditions can range from lost limbs and paralysis to post-traumatic stress disorder.

Some have suffered injuries on the battlefield, others through accidents and training mishaps.

Many of them require long-term care, often provided by organisations such as the Erskine homes and a handful of other groups.

We feel opportunities are being missed up here in Scotland
Jim Panton

Erskine is currently expanding its Glasgow and Edinburgh centres, with the Edinburgh project alone costing 8.7m.

The care providers do not receive money direct from central government, instead relying on cash from charitable donations and local authorities.

Military nurse Joanna Martin, who served in Iraq, was injured in training on an assault course and now uses a wheelchair.

She was initially treated on the NHS but it had no facilities for her as she recovered, so she came to an Erskine home.

Speaking to Scotland Live, BBC Radio Scotland's lunchtime news programme, she said: "I did struggle for funding and it would have been great if the MoD had come in and said: 'Yes we will fund you to be here'."

Opportunities missed

Jim Panton from the charity PoppyScotland, which donates funds to ex-services charities including Erskine, said Scotland was missing out.

"There are a number of initiatives going on throughout the whole of the UK, and when you just sit down and count up and look at the numbers that are involved in specific work in Scotland it is relatively low," he said.

"We feel opportunities are being missed up here in Scotland."

The UK minister for veterans, Derek Twigg, told the programme there were a number of new initiatives in Scotland to help veterans.

He said: "We do treat Scotland the same in terms of veterans as the rest of the UK.

"I recognise that there clearly has to be a look at how we get all the organisations - MoD, services charities and various charities - working together, that we give the best possible support to veterans and those who leave the services."

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