Monday, 30 April 2012

Thorough and independent probes on death of national servicemen

THE Ministry of Defence (Mindef) would like to respond to issues raised in Forum and Forum Online letters following the recent death of a national serviceman ('NSF dies after collapsing during training exercise'; April 18).

Mindef offers its deepest sympathies to the bereaved family.

We take a very serious view of every incident resulting in injury or death. When these occur, the procedures in place mandate that relevant safety features are reviewed vigorously at all levels - from the top leadership to junior commanders - to prevent a recurrence.

Every incident involving the death of a national serviceman, whether training-related or otherwise, is thoroughly investigated by an independent committee chaired by a senior public servant from outside Mindef, with a senior doctor from the public sector as one of its members.

The investigation will look into the cause of death and recommend improvements to procedures, where applicable.

Lessons learnt and recommendations by the committee are disseminated to commanders and individual soldiers. In addition, the police will also conduct a separate and independent investigation into the incident and submit their findings to the coroner. Where warranted, the coroner will hold a Coroner's Inquiry, which is held in open court.

Mindef is also committed to rendering assistance to the families of servicemen in these difficult times.

Compensation will be provided to the families of servicemen whose deaths are due to service, based on similar principles and practices used by the civil courts or the Workmen's Compensation Act.

Additional compensation is also given for injuries and deaths sustained during military training and operations. Appeal channels on compensation are also available via the Compensation Board chaired by a non-Mindef senior legal service officer.

Bereaved families of servicemen and servicemen who suffer permanent disability in the course of duty can also seek further help via our various welfare schemes. For injuries due to service, Mindef will pay for all the medical expenses and supplies during treatment in government and restructured hospitals or clinics.

These measures mitigate the impact of injuries and loss of lives to servicemen and their families. But Mindef would like to assure national servicemen, their families and the public that our utmost and continuing priority is to put in place a robust safety system that will prevent all avoidable injuries and deaths.

We will learn from every incident to continually strengthen and improve this safety system.

Colonel Kenneth Liow
Director, Public Affairs
ST Forum, 28 Apr 2012

No comments:

Post a Comment