Mental health service for veterans rolled out across Wales

A pilot project to support armed services personnel experiencing mental health problems as a result of their service will be extended across Wales.

The service, which has been trialled in the Cardiff and Vale and Cwm Taf health board areas, offered veterans access to clinicians with expertise in the mental health needs of service personnel, to provide assessment and suitable treatment.

The two-year pilot was based at the University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, and was jointly funded by the Welsh assembly government and the Ministry of Defence.

The new service, which will cost £485,000 a year, will mean veterans who experience mental health problems will have a comprehensive assessment of their psychological and social needs as well as a management plan to meet these.

The next steps will see every health board in Wales identifying the right staff to drive the service forward.

In addition the Welsh government is looking at further measures it can take to strengthen care and support for members of the armed services and veterans.

Veterans in Wales already receive priority treatment on the NHS for a health condition related to their military service.

Welsh health minister Edwina Hart said: “I am determined to improve the care for people who have experienced health problems as a result of their military service. We owe them a debt of gratitude and have a duty of care to them.”

In England, the government has set up six pilots to provide community mental health support for veterans and plans to roll this kind of support across England as part of its New Horizons strategy. 

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