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Ex-servicemen: Advisory Services

Volume 482: debated on Wednesday 5 November 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what pilot studies have been established in England and Wales to offer assistance to former members of the armed forces on discharge. (232909)

The Ministry of Defence delivers a range of support to its personnel both as they leave service and as veterans. To develop services further, pilot schemes are sometimes run to evaluate which offer the most appropriate support. Two current pilot schemes are:

Mentoring of Early Service Leavers (ESLs)—those who have served up to four years. It has been in progress at Catterick Garrison since June 2007. It aims to establish whether one-to-one ‘light touch’ mentoring improves the outcomes for ESLs six months after discharge. Outcomes to be measured include housing, employment and other forms of well-being. This pilot will conclude in 2009 before evaluation and a report published of its findings.

Community-based mental healthcare for veterans. This has been in progress, led by the Health departments and with the support of the ex-service charities, notably Combat Stress since November 2007. The participating sites in England and Wales, based at national health service (NHS) trusts, include Stafford, Camden and Islington, Bishop Auckland, Plymouth and Cardiff. Each site will run a service for veterans with mental health problems for two years. Core principles include delivery of evidence based interventions and development of a service which is accessible and acceptable to veterans. Following evaluation and publication of the findings decisions will be made on wider roll-out of the service.