Gulf War vet slams 'lack of care'

A FORMER member of the RAF from Weston who served in the First Gulf War has accused the Government of failing in its duty to armed services personnel.

A FORMER member of the RAF from Weston who served in the First Gulf War has accused the Government of failing in its duty to armed services personnel.

Barry Pratt, a father-of-three, of Griffin Road, says morale is being affected by the Government’s apparent lack of care for current and former servicemen.

The 40-year-old is now on a full War Disablement Pension after the Royal British Legion represented him at a pensions’ tribunal as part of a 10-year battle with the Ministry of Defence to get it to accept responsibility for his illness.

The former senior aircraftsman received a medical discharge from the service due to chronic pancreatitis, which he says was brought on by shift patterns.


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While serving with the RAF, from 1984-96, SAC Pratt became ill and started waking up sick each morning.

He lost four stone in weight and suffered from internal bleeding.

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RAF doctors had not come across the condition before and had no real idea how to treat his case.

He became depressed and doctors blamed his medical condition on mental health problems.

Barry says his illness is directly related to his time in the RAF. Previously, the benefit of the doubt was given to personnel, but now complainants must prove that injury, illness or death was caused predominantly by the service. He is now backing the Legion’s campaign to see the military covenant upheld.

The covenant states: “British soldiers must always be able to expect fair treatment.”

Barry said: “Under the terms of the covenant, I was entitled to priority treatment, but none came.

“I think it is disgraceful, especially with the conditions our guys are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan nowadays.”

The Legion’s campaign, which started last week, says there should be a just compensation scheme which recognises the commitment and sacrifices made when serving the nation.

It also says there should be a greater commitment to support the physical and mental well-being of service people and their families.

The group also wants better support for bereaved service families.

For more details about the campaign log on to www.thecovenant.org.uk

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