Duncan Welsh, from Fife in Scotland, is a previous serving soldier. He served in the Royal Logistics Corps and served in Afghanistan. He has recently decided to re-enlist to join either the Royal Engineers or the Adjutant General's Corps but has been rejected for a small fracture to his big toe from playing a charity football match in support of Help For Heroes, almost 6 years ago.
During his attendance at the army selection centre at Glencorse, he passed with flying colours and was told that he was the top applicant on the course.
However, he received a letter detailing that his army application could go no further. He was informed that he could stand a chance of suffering from osteoporosis, which typically occurs from age 50+, which came as a surprise considering his past service and current fitness levels. Duncan attends the gym 5 times a week, likes walking, tabbing and he still plays football.
The medical JSP 950 standards state in the Musculoskeletal section applicable to Duncan’s case that ‘For those with normal function and with no deformity, a period of at least 12 months must have elapsed since the fracture before selection.’ This states that Duncan’s old foot injury, almost 6 times that of the minimum healing time, should be redundant.
Duncan believes that his career would be over by the time he was 50 anyway and that the small fracture doesn’t affect him in any way or form. Even the civilian Capita doctor told Duncan that there were no clear issues regrading his foot.
Duncan stated, ‘I'm extremely fit and capable. I feel they are looking at a sheet of paper rather than realising the potential in each candidate. I have managed, with the help of army officers, to get this escalated to a full Colonel. I feel this is extremely unfair and I feel for all the other lads who have been rejected.’
This comes at a time when almost every infantry battalion is under strength and the civilian recruitment company, Capita, is coming under intense scrutiny from MPs for not being able to bridge the army personnel recruitment gap. The Army’s overall troop strength dropped for an eighth year in a row, party to do with blanket bans on manageable medical conditions.
Duncan and many others in his position have joined a campaign called Right To Fight which aims to change the armed forces medical policy to make ‘the medical standards fairer, more accessible and realistic whereby each recruit is judged on their personal attributes, life experience and the ability to operate effectively.
When asked about the campaign, Duncan stated ‘I was really happy to learn about Right to Fight as I feel better knowing I'm not alone in my struggle. I am able to relate to others who also want the rules changed.’
The founder of the Right To Fight campaign, a recruit rejected from the Special Forces for a food allergy, stated ‘Too many people come to us after being rejected from the army with manageable medical conditions. If Duncan can manage his old foot injury and prove so by being given a chance to complete infantry training again, then all the better for him and for the army. People like Duncan, who are super keen, ready and fit, are the solution to the continuing recruitment crisis’.