Skip to content

UK Troops in Afghanistan Losing More Limbs, Figures Show

April 5, 2010

Cpl Mark Sutcliffe, former patient , shows double amputee Marine  Pete Dunning his artificial leg

Seriously wounded personnel are treated at Selly Oak Hospital

Rising numbers of UK service personnel are losing limbs as a result of serving in Afghanistan, official figures show.

Some 54 lost part or all of a limb in 2009, including 26 who lost more than one, the Ministry of Defence says.

That compares with 30 amputees in 2008 and 12 the year before. The number of “seriously or very seriously” wounded rose from 65 in 2008 to 158 last year.

Defence chiefs have been focusing on the threat of roadside bombs, employed by insurgents with increasing success.

The devices have become more sophisticated in recent months.

They can be detonated by a hidden insurgent when military vehicles pass, by being rigged up to tripwires or detonated via radio or mobile phone signals.

The amputee figures do not include the period since the turn of the year, which has seen the start of Operation Moshtarak – a Nato-led offensive to try to oust the Taliban from strongholds involving 4,000 British personnel.

However, the figures do show 28 serious injuries between the turn of the year and 15 March. Thirty-five men have been killed since the start of 2010.

‘Insufficiently prepared’

The data, supplied by the ministry’s Defence Analytical Services and Advice department, show field hospitals in Afghanistan are under increasing pressure.

There were 1,229 admissions in 2009 – up from just over 1,000 the year before and from 832 in 2007. Some 508 personnel were wounded in action, with the remainder admitted for diseases or non-battle injuries.

Last week, MPs on the Public Accounts Committee said insufficient preparations were in place in the UK for a “significant” rise in the number of injured servicemen and women.

Most seriously injured troops are brought to a specialist military facility at Birmingham’s Selly Oak Hospital, then on to Headley Court, in Surrey, for rehabilitation. Both facilities were praised by the cross-party committee.

Spending watchdog the National Audit Office said in February that the Helmand field hospital was close to capacity, and moreover that the number of military patients at Selly Oak could force civilians to be treated elsewhere.

But Surgeon Vice-Admiral Philip Raffaelli – senior medical officer of the British Armed Forces – has insisted the MoD can handle a surge in casualty numbers.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Richard permalink
    April 5, 2010 5:17 pm

    Are there any fiqures available on those whose wounds are unseen? Those with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder! Nothing is mentioned?


  2. October 8, 2011 11:40 pm

    pointless war


What are you thinking?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: