Senior Army officers and Service charities united last night in condemning the treatment of wounded troops as "an absolute disgrace".
Field Marshal Lord Bramall, a former chief of the defence staff, said the outpatient service for soldiers was "appalling". Charity chiefs believe there is a "lost battalion" of 500 troops who have been ignored or forgotten after leaving hospital.
Col Tim Collins, who commanded an infantry battalion during the Iraq invasion, said the public did not care about troops who had been wounded in an unpopular war and that they were not vote winners for the Government.
"The public perception is that these men are volunteers and if you get wounded then bad luck; you should have joined the fire service instead," he said. "We should start caring about our forces and demanding better standards."
There are also growing calls for the Government to build a dedicated military hospital. Seven of the eight military hospitals have been closed since the early 1990s.
While soldiers receive excellent treatment from military medical staff on operations, it is when they are returned to health service care that their difficulties begin.
The wounded are first treated at Selly Oak, where they are meant to be cared for in a military wing, but recently they have been placed in mixed wards with civilians, open to the public and with little security. By contrast, American military hospitals have armed guards and a strict entry system.
The hospital trust that runs Selly Oak has also recorded the highest rate of the superbug MRSA in Britain, figures showed this year.
The row follows The Daily Telegraph's report of security worries at Selly Oak Hospital, Birmingham, where a paratrooper was threatened by a man who accused him of "killing my Muslim brothers in Afghanistan".
Oh for a Kipling to write with " the scorn of scorn"..
The Last of the Light Brigade
by Rudyard Kipling
There were thirty million English who talked of England's might,
There were twenty broken troopers who lacked a bed for the night.
They had neither food nor money, they had neither service nor trade;
They were only shiftless soldiers, the last of the Light Brigade.
They felt that life was fleeting; they knew not that art was long,
That though they were dying of famine, they lived in deathless song.
They asked for a little money to keep the wolf from the door;
And the thirty million English sent twenty pounds and four !
They laid their heads together that were scarred and lined and grey;
Keen were the Russian sabres, but want was keener than they;
And an old Troop-Sergeant muttered, "Let us go to the man who writes
The things on Balaclava the kiddies at school recites."
They went without bands or colours, a regiment ten-file strong,
To look for the Master-singer who had crowned them all in his song;
And, waiting his servant's order, by the garden gate they stayed,
A desolate little cluster, the last of the Light Brigade.
They strove to stand to attention, to straighen the toil-bowed back;
They drilled on an empty stomach, the loose-knit files fell slack;
With stooping of weary shoulders, in garments tattered and frayed,
They shambled into his presence, the last of the Light Brigade.
The old Troop-Sergeant was spokesman, and "Beggin' your pardon," he said,
"You wrote o' the Light Brigade, sir. Here's all that isn't dead.
An' it's all come true what you wrote, sir, regardin' the mouth of hell;
For we're all of us nigh to the workhouse, an' we thought we'd call an' tell.
"No, thank you, we don't want food, sir; but couldn't you take an' write
A sort of 'to be continued' and 'see next page' o' the fight?
We think that someone has blundered, an' couldn't you tell 'em how?
You wrote we were heroes once, sir. Please, write we are starving now."
The poor little army departed, limping and lean and forlorn.
And the heart of the Master-singer grew hot with "the scorn of scorn."
And he wrote for them wonderful verses that swept the land like flame,
Till the fatted souls of the English were scourged with the thing called Shame.
O thirty million English that babble of England's might,
Behold there are twenty heroes who lack their food to-night;
Our children's children are lisping to "honour the charge they made - "
And we leave to the streets and the workhouse the charge of the Light Brigade!