Birmingham & Black Country

Injured soldier Lee Bagley would not let his children serve in forces over care 'delay'

British soldier (generic)
Image caption British solders are potentially at risk of 'slipping through net' in injury treatment, a former rifleman claims

A soldier who had part of his leg amputated says he would forbid his children from joining the armed forces over delays in getting treatment.

Former rifleman Lee Bagley says the amputation might have been avoided had he accessed care quicker.

He was hurt in February 2010 when he was attacked during a platoon night out in Brecon, Wales.

Defence veterans minister Mark Lancaster encouraged him to submit a formal service complaint.

During an adjournment debate on the matter last month, Mr Lancaster said 2010 was "particularly tough" for troop injuries due to the Afghanistan conflict, adding improvements had since been made to services for sick and injured personnel.

The debate had been brought by Adrian Bailey, Labour MP for West Bromwich West in the West Midlands, who said the army has not fulfilled its duty of care to his constituent.

Image caption Adrian Bailey, says the army did not fulfil its duty of care over the former rifleman's injury

Mr Bagley, 26, who served with 2nd Battalion the Rifles, was injured in the leg when his attacker repeatedly stamped on it, compressing ankle bones - problems which, despite X-rays at the time, went undiscovered until an MRI scan.

'I'm a number'

Signed off duties, he said he had to wait until February 2011 - a year after the attack - to be transferred, in pain, to a personal recovery unit at Headley Court, the military's specialist rehabilitation centre in Surrey.

He said the periods between care left him feeling like he was "just a number on a piece of paper, another statistic".

He showed little response to specialist care and was passed on to surgeons who took off his right leg below the knee in September 2012 - 19 months after he was hurt.

The experience, he said, made him feel the military did not care about him and "if one of my children wanted to join I would never let them, because of what I've been through".

He said: "If that treatment would have been received quicker, which it should have done, maybe I might still have my leg now, but that's not for me to say."

He added of the army: "They need to make sure that no-one slips through the net."

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