‘This is the ultimate slap in the face’
Lance Corporal Callum Brown has been told the English NHS will no longer foot the bill for his treatment at hospital specialising in military casualties.
A soldier who lost his legs in Afghanistan will no longer get treatment in England – because he’s Scottish.
Callum Brown, 28, still endures horrific pain from injuries caused by a bomb blast six years ago.
But now the former soldier is to lose the treatment and medication he has relied on.
He said: “I am sitting here without my legs because I fought for this country.”
“This is the ultimate slap in the face. I am still in shock and can barely get my head around it.”
Former lance corporal Callum, from Ayr, has been under the care of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.
The hospital, where he was treated when he was first airlifted home, has dedicated and specialised facilities for military casualties.
But on his last visit, he and wife Laura were stunned to be told he could no longer go there because he doesn’t live in England.
Callum fears the decision could even cost him his life because he will no longer have access to the specialist treatment available at the hospital.
Callum said: “When I was down there, a senior member of staff told me that he was ashamed to say that they could no longer treat me there.”
“He said it was because the English NHS would no longer foot the bill for me there since I wasn’t from England.”
“I couldn’t understand it. Last time I checked, I fought for the British Army.”
“It is absolutely disgusting. This is a massive injustice.”
“Even the member of staff who warned me that this was happening said the papers would have a field day when they found out about this.”
“It makes me so angry, I can barely speak.”
“I also receive a painkilling cannabis spray down there because I am in constant pain but it looks like I won’t get that either.”
The Record previously revealed that Callum had been forced to break the law to get cannabis to ease his pain.
He has spearheaded calls to legalise the drug for medical use and wants to see cannabis made available to patients like him who suffer agonising pain 24 hours a day.
At the time, Callum revealed his horrific injuries.
He said: “As well as my other injuries, I have no skin on my backside.”
“It’s just thin scar tissue so the nerve damage and the phantom pains are the main reason for smoking.”
“The cannabis also helps with depression as it’s easy to get a bit down.”
“I shouldn’t have to be a criminal to get something that eases my pain and makes life easier.”
“After I was injured in Afghanistan, the doctors had me on powerful painkillers. These chemicals had very strong side effects.”
“They could even make you suicidal, which obviously wasn’t good when I was trying to cope with my injuries.”
“With cannabis, there is no down side. It eases my pain.”
Callum lost his legs in 2011 in a booby trap bomb explosion during his last patrol before he was due to return home to then fiancee Laura Taylor.
The couple had been due to marry but were forced to cancel their plans because of Callum’s injuries.
Instead, they married at the Birmingham hospital, where he was treated after being flown home from Camp Bastion.
Callum, who served with 2 Scots, the Royal Highland Fusiliers, lost two-thirds of his body weight as he recovered from the blast.
At one point, he was taking more than 30 pills a day to deal with pain.
Callum said: “I have been going to the Queen Elizabeth for ages. They are simply the best at what they do.”
I would not be here without them. I have paid my taxes for years so why shouldn’t I continue to get my treatment and medication down there?
“We are supposed to be living in the United Kingdom, it feels more like the disunited kingdom.”
“I have a huge amount of respect for the NHS in Scotland but they simply do not have the specialists to treat me.”
“In Birmingham, they have the experts who know exactly how to deal with someone with my type of injuries. Up here in Scotland, they don’t have that.”
“They just don’t have that kind of expertise or facilities.”
“I had a British badge on my shirt when I was out in Afghanistan so how can this be happening? It almost seems like discrimination.”
“Everything that was done to me surgically was experimental. The ones in Birmingham are the ones that pieced me together.”
“I am terrified to go into the hospital if I get an infection or something because they just don’t know how to handle me.”
“I could wind up dead because they just don’t have the knowledge or the facilities up here.”
Laura added: “We were told the English will no longer foot the bill for Callum’s health care. Not just Callum’s – but any other veterans not living in England.”
“So, basically, they are happy to have him go to war for them but they are not prepared to give them the best care after that.”
“Many lads would not be here today without the specialists based down there. You fight for your country but your country will do nothing for you in return.”
The trust who run the hospital said: “University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust have arranged two more follow-up appointments to determine the effectiveness of Mr Brown’s latest cycle of treatment.”
“If he needs further treatment within the trust, we would need to seek pre-approved funding from NHS Scotland.”