The Defence Select Committee has announced it will be scrutinising Veterans mental health support this year, after Help for Heroes raised concerns in November last year.
In a letter to the Chair, Dr Julian Lewis, the Charity highlighted the issue of inadequate funding for NHS trusts who are finding their excellent work with Veterans and their families is being hindered by a lack of funding from central Government.
Head of Psychological Wellbeing, Karen Mead, welcomed the announcement saying: “Almost 500 individuals were discharged in 2016/17 with mental health issues – this has increased by 90% since 2012. NHS practitioners are doing a great job with what they have, and we know recent reforms to armed forces mental health provision are still taking effect. Help for Heroes believes that the increasing burden being placed on the NHS means that it is now the time to make sure the services these Veterans need are fit for purpose”
The NHS aims to see 95% of patients seeking mental health support within in 18 weeks; however, in some parts of the country wait times are in excess of 9 months for veterans. Help for Heroes also has concerns that the Government is not placing enough emphasis on those with complex care needs. The charity is urging policy makers to have in the forefront of their minds the needs of these individuals who are discharged despite requiring more specialist support. (Help for Heroes, Cobseo, 5th January 2018)