Calls for more government investment in veteran mental health care
A report out today (25 February 2019) from the House of Commons Defence Committee has called for more government investment in veteran mental health care.
Less than £10 million a year of the £150 billion UK health budget is spent on veteran-specific mental health services. As a result, former servicemen and women face wide variations in the quality of treatment available, according to where they live and whether they are fortunate enough to have a GP with awareness of veterans’ needs.
The Committee has recommended that a government-funded specialist mental health centre for veterans be established in the next 12-18 months at the new state-run Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre at Stanford Hall near Loughborough.
Sue Freeth, Chief Executive of Combat Stress, said:
“We fully support the recommendations made within this report, which acknowledge the need for specialist mental health treatment.
“At Combat Stress, we provide a world class residential treatment programme – the only one of its kind in the UK – yet it no longer receives funding from NHS England. This report is real progress is appreciating the continuing gaps in the provision of care to veterans, and the recognition of the vital role of specialist services. We have a century of experience in veterans’ mental health, providing residential and community treatment and support.
“We are pleased that the House of Commons Defence Committee has recognised both the progress made in the field of veterans’ mental health but also the shortfalls that remain. We join the call for better coordination between services and greater investment in veterans’ mental health care.
“We support the proposal for a centre of excellence for veterans’ mental health treatment to be delivered within the Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre (DNRC). Treatment for people with complex needs should be delivered by those with the knowledge, expertise and understanding of the issues involved. This is something we have been saying for some time and we look forward to hearing what part Combat Stress, the UK’s largest mental health charity for veterans, will play.”
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