Veterans Care Sector: Government Role

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:27 pm on 25th October 2016.

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Photo of Mark Lancaster Mark Lancaster The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence 6:27 pm, 25th October 2016

I intend to visit Northern Ireland shortly. For obvious reasons, I appreciate that there is a unique set of circumstances over there, and I am determined to do my bit to address them. Of course, communication is the key. I shall explain in a few moments how I believe we can help, but the key is making sure that support services are available and communicated. All too often, help is out there, but it is not clear how our veterans access it. I intend to say a few words about that if the hon. Gentleman will bear with me.

I informed the House earlier this year of a plan to improve the care received by the most seriously injured and highly dependent service personnel and veterans. Currently, this support is funded and delivered by a number of separate agencies, including the MOD, the NHS, local authorities and charitable organisations. As such, we have a pilot, which is ongoing, that sees care of this kind co-ordinated and delivered by a new integrated high-dependency care system—I think we need a better name. It produces a joined-up and improved system of care for the individual, reducing strain on local care commissioning groups. The early signs are that this is going well. I am happy, once it is established, to see how to extend it to a wider cohort of veterans.