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Statement on veteran hunger strike

Statement on veteran hunger strike

Falklands veteran Gus Hales is currently staging a hunger strike outside our Audley Court treatment centre in Shropshire. We are working with Mr Hales to resolve his concerns.

We want to assure veterans who are currently receiving outpatient treatment at this centre that our services are running as usual. 

Sue Freeth, Chief Executive at Combat Stress, said:

“Mr Hales has raised two very important issues. Regarding the issue of his own discharge from our services, we have unreservedly apologised for the manner in which he was discharged in 2015. We are extremely concerned about Mr Hales’ health due to the current situation and our clinical team is standing by, ready to offer Mr Hales any personal assistance he wishes.

“As a result of Mr Hales discharge, we will undertake a review to identify if any other veterans have been improperly discharged from Combat Stress.  We have asked the Ministry of Defence, the Department of Health and partner military charities to participate and to identify anyone they know who feels they have been discharged improperly. Once we have this information, we will discuss with them how to meet their needs for any further support.

“On the second issue of the plight of veterans with mental health problems, we acknowledge and admire the highly visible way Mr Hales has sought to draw attention to this issue.  Over the last decade the number of former servicemen and women seeking help from Combat Stress for the first time has doubled to more than 2,000 each year. We no longer receive substantial income from NHS England following the redistribution of their funding to a new Veterans’ Mental Health Complex Treatment Service, which is still settling down.

“We fully support the points about the need for more resources to offer better coordinated and funded support to the significant number of veterans who have risked everything in service for their country and our safety.”