asked Her Majesty's Government:
Further to the Written Answer by Lord Drayson on 28 March (WA 269–70), what steps they are taking to ensure that any future changes in the mental health services provided to veterans of Operation TELIC, and other deployments, will result in an improved level of service; and [HL3189]
Further to the Written Answer by Lord Drayson on 28 March (WA 269–70), what plans they have for the future provision of mental health services to veterans of Operation TELIC and other deployments in all parts of the United Kingdom; and [HL3190]
Further to the Written Answer by Lord Drayson on 28 March (WA 269–70), what steps they will take to ensure that their plans for the future provision of mental health services to veterans of Operation TELIC and other deployments living in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland respectively, do not result in a reduction in public funding of the organisation Combat Stress. [HL3191]
As part of the government commitment to good mental health and well-being for Armed Forces personnel and veterans, officials from the MoD, the UK health departments and Combat Stress, advised by national clinical experts, have been working to develop a new community-based model of mental health services for veterans, designed to provide health professionals with access to expert understanding of veterans’ mental health problems and appropriate treatment options. Since 1948, successive Governments have held that the NHS should be the main provider of health care for veterans. Based on NHS practice and procedures, the new service would deliver culturally sensitive, evidence-based interventions through a network of public, private and charitable providers; an aim of the new model would be to integrate Combat Stress into NHS commissioning arrangements. We are looking to pilot the model at sites across the UK, with the first to be launched shortly. Discussions are well advanced in selection and setting-up of sites which we expect to be located in a range of trusts across the UK. The pilots would run for two years, after which there would be an independent evaluation of effectiveness, including value for money. An important part of the initiative is that the pilots should provide planning data on the likely demands for a nationwide veterans' service.
With regard to public funding of Combat Stress, war pensions funding would continue to be provided to qualifying war pensioners for residential care at the society's homes. Officials are currently in discussion with the society on fee levels for 2007-08 and we expect to announce increases shortly.