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Injured soldier can stay in army

The Ministry of Defence has quashed fears that the most seriously injured soldier to survive the Afghanistan war will be discharged from the Army.

Paratrooper Lance Bombardier Ben Parkinson lost both legs and suffered brain and back injuries in a bomb attack five years ago.

The 27-year-old's family were concerned that, following a recent medical assessment, he would be discharged and the Army would stop paying for his 37 hours a week of rehabilitation.

A Ministry of Defence spokeswoman stressed the Para from Doncaster, South Yorkshire, was not being forced out of the Army.

She said: "Bombardier Ben Parkinson was assessed by a routine medical board to confirm his medical status against the Army's employability standards.

"This board does not make decisions about discharge or retention in the Army. LBdr Parkinson is still receiving treatment and rehabilitation for his injuries and he remains in the Army."

LBdr Parkinson, who can walk up to 30 yards on prosthetic limbs and is working to improve his speech, told the Sunday Mirror: "This is great news. I now plan to stay in the Army and do my rehab so I can walk and talk.

"I will also carry on doing charity work."

Army bosses have expressed concern that the large number of injured soldiers who were medically unfit for active service was diminishing the forces' fighting strength.

As a result of combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq over the past decade, the number of soldiers classed unfit for operational deployment has swollen to 6,600, more than 6% of the Army's total strength, figures earlier this year showed.


From Belfast Telegraph