Fit To Fight? FoI Request By The Times Reveals Numbers Of Troops Unfit To Be Deployed

Posted on January 9, 2019

The Ministry of Defence has responded to concerns about the number of personnel fit for overseas deployment by stating it has “enough people to perform their operational requirements”. As many as 7,200 troops are not currently medically fit enough to be sent abroad, a Freedom of Information request by the Times has revealed. A further 9,910 service personnel are exempted from certain tasks when out on exercises or operations for medical reasons.

A spokesperson for the MOD said: “Individuals are medically downgraded for a wide variety of reasons, most of which are minor health concerns that don’t prevent personnel from fulfilling their core duties. The Armed Forces have enough people to perform their operational requirements to keep Britain safe.”

Troops are divided into three categories; those who are fit for duty without any employment limitations are classed as Medically Fully Deployable (MFD).

Medically Limited Deployable (MLD) service personnel are those with only minor ailments, such as sports injuries or ingrown toenails. This group is deemed in general fit for deployment with only minor limitations on what duties they may perform.

A third category, Medically Not Deployable (MND), includes those personnel who are pregnant or have more serious conditions. Other troops that may not be deployed include those who are under the age of 18 and those who have not completed the appropriate training.

Former commander of British forces in Afghanistan Colonel Richard Kemp responded to the figures by saying he thinks the recruitment process “needs fixing”. The Freedom of Information request also revealed that roughly 15% of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines are non-deployable or have restrictions of their deployment.

The figure rises to 16% among members of the RAF.

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