Combat Stress

Question Time — Scottish Executive – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:30 pm on 12th June 2003.

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Photo of Tom McCabe Tom McCabe Labour

During the financial year 2002-03, the Executive paid £740,000 for nursing care provided to war pensioners in Hollybush House in Ayr, which is run by the charity Combat Stress. I am not aware of any recent application from that charity for grant funding.

Photo of Adam Ingram Adam Ingram Scottish National Party

I thank the minister for that answer, but I am sure that he will remember the fine words that the First Minister and others expressed in the chamber about the need to support our troops during the recent conflict in Iraq. Does he agree that our servicemen and women who come back from such conflicts psychologically damaged are even more deserving of our support in the form of treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder as and when it is required? Why is it that, in this country, unlike in Australia or the United States of America, it is left to charities such as Combat Stress to pick up the main burden of that task? Some 32 per cent of the clients of Combat Stress receive no financial support whatever from the Government.

Photo of Tom McCabe Tom McCabe Labour

The original question was about the treatment supplied to war pensioners in the facility that was mentioned. I explained to the member that the national health service fully reimbursed the cost of the nursing care that was provided. I fully support the words of the First Minister that our troops should receive the highest-quality medical care after combat experience, whenever it is required. I am sure that the national health service will do all that it can to ensure that that is a reality. As the member will know, particular emphasis is placed on war pensioners. When they need national health service treatment, they are fast-tracked through the system to ensure that their treatment is appropriate and speedy.