Skip to main content

Ex-servicemen: Mentally Ill

Volume 478: debated on Monday 23 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans are in place to ensure that those armed forces veterans who have developed mental health conditions receive sufficient support. (211398)

The MOD is working with the four UK Health Departments in piloting a new expert mental health care service for veterans in the UK. The pilots will run for two years and, following independent evaluation, the intention is to roll the model out nationwide. Veterans with mental health problems, in particular those from areas not yet involved in the pilots, may attend our Medical Assessment Programme based at St. Thomas’ hospital, London if they have served on operations since 1982; this offers an expert mental health assessment from a psychiatrist who has an extensive background of service in the armed forces. Veterans will also benefit from the decision last November to extend priority treatment to all veterans in Great Britain whose condition is considered by their GP to be due to service.

The MOD funds war pensioners undergoing “remedial treatment” at Ex Service Mental Welfare Society (“Combat Stress”) homes. MOD gave Combat Stress £2.5 million in fees in 2006-07 and agreed in October to a phased increase in the fees, rising to 45 per cent. from 1 January 2008, to enable them to enhance their capability to treat veterans.