The Operating framework for the national health service in England 2010-11 makes it clear that meeting the needs of military and ex-military personnel is a reputational issue for the NHS as a whole. This includes mental health.
The NHS will be helped in this task by the results of six United Kingdom pilots that aimed to test different approaches to encouraging uptake of NHS mental health services by veterans. This will report in the next few weeks.
In addition, we are currently launching a project which will embed personnel from the Combat Stress charity into another six or seven mental health trusts to build on benefits of collaborative working between the NHS and the voluntary sector.
Commissioning responsibility for mental health care services, including any special provisions for veterans, now rests with individual primary care trusts. We do not propose to change this.
The fact that someone has served in the armed forces is not recorded within national health service information systems, so these figures are not available.
The Defence Medical Services and Department of Health will shortly introduce a new process to help service leavers register with an NHS general practitioner, including direct transfer of medical records and this will allow the individuals status as a veteran to be passed to other health workers, including within mental health services.