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  1. ITV Report

Injured veterans tell of life-changing conditions after leaving the military

  • By ITV News Correspondent Paul Davies

It is an imaginative and powerful illustration of the price paid by tens of thousands of those who have served their country.

Each green figure representing someone forced to leave the services because of physical or mental injury with the charity that carried out the investigation saying the majority of those they spoke to felt the care they'd received had been inadequate.

Some wounded veterans like Grenadier Guards officer Carl Shadrake only developed life-changing conditions after leaving the military.

40,000 military careers have ended due to injury. Credit: Help For Heroes

Seriously injured twice in Afghanistan, he said it was the death of his brother, also a guardsman that brought his own problems to a head.

"It wasn't until my brother had, sort of, with being flown back, you get to see the coffin and that's when the sort of things started to hit me a bit more that actually that this is what has happening and that is when started to struggle the most," Mr Shadrake said.

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Of those medically discharged today have problems with mental health, according to Help for Heroes.

He added that his character changed completely and he became an angry recluse.

"Life for everyone else was still going on and I resent them for having fun even though I was locking myself away."

He continued: "There's this hatred for everybody else and I want to point the finger at everybody else and cause it's all their fault, not mine and it's a really dark place to find yourself in, it really is."

Lee Patmore's Royal Navy career ended when he suffered a serious back injury. Credit: ITV News

Help For Heroes stepped in to help Carl's recovery and also had to help Lee Patmore whose Royal Navy career ended when he suffered a serious back injury.

He believes there are many like him who didn't get the care they needed before returning to civilian life.

Mr Patmore said: "They're life-changing figures, they're figures that affect the community because you know, when we come out we go back into the community.

"It's crazy to think how many people are out there, walking around daily that could be going through what I'm going through."

The military charity is calling on the government to order an independent review of the medical discharge procedure to prevent so many veterans falling through the gaps.

Medical discharges reflect period of 'high operational tempo'

A Ministry of Defence spokesperson said: “Our armed forces do a dangerous job in keeping this country safe and anyone who is medically discharged receives bespoke support to help them back into civilian life.

“Fewer than 2% of personnel who have served in the armed forces over the last 20 years were medically discharged.

“When someone is injured, wounded or sick, in most cases they are medically downgraded in order to allow for treatment, recovery and rehabilitation.

“The 36,696 personnel medically discharged over 20 years reflects a period of high operational tempo, including conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.”