Monday, 4 February 2008

PTSD: veterans denied care

On the one hand latest Government figures show that current PTSD cases in the British Army are a fraction of those in the US Army - 1:3000 compared with 250:3000. On the other hand Combat Stress, the part-state funded charity set up to assist veterans with mental health problems, is reporting a 27% increase in referrals (1,200 new cases a year). Combat Stress only receives Ministry of Defence funding for war pensioners with a qualifying war pension for mental ill health and 48% of those seeking help do not fall into this category. Despite this, Combat Stress emphasise that no veteran is turned away and anyone who needs their specialist help will receive it, irrespective of their pension status. This of course means that the Charity is having to rely increasingly heavily on charitable donations to maintain its welfare and clinical operations.
The problem according to Combat Stress is that, because PTSD symptoms can take many years to fully surface, too much time has elapsed and the MoD is proving reluctant to grant these cases qualifying war pension status.
These veterans are actually being referred to Combat Stress by NHS doctors and so it can only be because the MoD wants to save money that it is denying the veterans the treatment they need.
MoD civil servants are happy to squander £2.3billion on refurbishing their cosy Whitehall offices but are unwilling to release the money to cover the treatment provided by Combat Stress psychiatrists to those suffering as a result of fighting for their country. Where's the Government's duty of care here?

Link> The Observer: Iraq veterans are denied help for combat trauma