TELEVISION / BRIEFING: Bungling on parade

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The Independent Culture
One consequence of the Government's Options for Change, it is suggested in this week's PUBLIC EYE (8pm BBC2), is the gradual running down of the military medical service. Nick O'Dwyer's Casualties of Peace, an investigation out of the old school of documentary-making, presents disturbing allegations that this process is contributing to major medical bungling. The reporter Phil Parry has tracked down several military families who suffered greatly after what they believe was gross incompetence in service hospitals. Maggie Lucking, for instance, won half a million pounds from the Ministry of Defence after her daughter Stephanie sustained brain damage in a routine dental operation at an army hospital. Perhaps part of the problem lies in the Neanderthal attitudes of some military men: a hospital worker asserts, 'If we could do without women, if it was just an all-male army, we'd be OK.' The only blot on Parry's copybook is a propensity to pose the odd galumphing question. Discussing with a sergeant the death of his son after a delay in treatment at a British Military Hospital, the reporter asks: 'How angry do you feel about that?'

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