Wisbech man has appealed after being turned down for the Marines for an illness that was fixed when he was just 10 days old

Luke Johnston who wants to get into the Marines but was initially turned down automatically because

Luke Johnston who wants to get into the Marines but was initially turned down automatically because he had Hirschsprungs Disease as a baby. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

A former uniformed services student at the College of West Anglia is raising awareness about health conditions that could put the dampeners on trying to get a career in the forces.

Luke Johnston, 23, studied for two years at the Wisbech campus and then applied to go in the Marines but fell at the first hurdle after listing that he had Hirschprungs Disease, a rare disorder of the bowel, which was operated on when he was a baby.

He said: “I had a pioneering operation when I was 10 days old and have had a clean bill of health since, but it is listed as one of the reasons why people automatically fail before even applying.”

Luckily he appealed and has now been given a second chance to pass the stringent fitness test to see if he can still make the grade.

He had the same dismissal with the Royal Anglians but has not appealed their refusal.


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Luke, who is working in WH Smith in Wisbech while training for the rigorous Marines test, said: “It is a shame that people are refused outright like that. Luckily I have a second chance with the Marines. Every case should be looked at individually.”

A spokesman for the Royal Navy said: “Every case is different and individuals all have the opportunity to demonstrate that they have recovered and are fit.

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“In general, medical entry standards for the Armed Forces are set much higher than those in civilian life. Those predisposed to, or with, conditions requiring periodic medical care or review, taking long term medication, or in whom deterioration of a pre-existing condition might occur are not suitable for military service.

“Although some of the listed conditions may not seem serious in civilian life and may appear as an acceptable risk to some, in an operational environment it may compromise, not only the individual concerned, but more importantly, others.

“Service personnel are required to be ready to serve anywhere in the world, often in operational situations that are remote from primary and secondary medical care. It is for this reason that the Armed Forces are exempt from the Disability and Equality Act 2010.

“If someone is turned down on medical grounds they can use the medical complaints procedure to appeal against the decision.

“Medical requirements are reviewed regularly and are published as and when updates are received.”

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