The British Army Recovery Capability (ARC) is a fantastic capability but it would appear, only PARTIALLY works. Firstly, demand outstrips the supply, and second, access to Personnel Recovery Units (PRUs) is a ‘Command Led Process’.
It is problematic firstly because the Unit Commanders’ priority is to prepare for Operations. However, they must also triage their wounded, injured and sick (WIS) deciding which have the greatest need and therefore nomination to a PRU. They are then expected to effectively manage those that remain. Second, the acceptance by the ARC Assignment Board of an injured Service man or woman to a PRU will be driven by PRU capacity. There are 154 beds in the 11 PRCs (Personnel Recovery Centres) and 1000 places. So no matter what the need, if there are no spaces, management remains at Unit level. The RN and RAF are also able to bid for places.
Which commander is prepared to stand up and tell those s/he leads that in the event of their injury, they will potentially be competing with their colleagues for PRU places and appropriate management, but not just them, their families too. The purpose of the ARC was to alleviate Unit Commanders of WIS management, for sound reasons, but this is only happening in part and the problems of the past systems (Y-List, Sickness Absence Management [SAM] Team) remain and increase, for many WIS and their families.
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