Armed Forces: Mental Health Services

Ministry of Defence written question – answered on 27th January 2015.

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Photo of Dan Jarvis Dan Jarvis Shadow Minister (Justice)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the services currently available to military personnel suffering from mental illness.

Photo of Anna Soubry Anna Soubry The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence

We take the mental health of our personnel very seriously, and are committed to ensuring that help is available for everyone who needs it. The Defence Medical Services (DMS) have in place a variety of measures to identify, assess and treat issues at the earliest possible opportunity.

The effectiveness of these services is measured by a variety of formal processes. Our facilities are subject to regular Health Governance Assurance visits, from both internal Ministry of Defence (MOD) officials and independent external bodies such as the Healthcare Commission, in 2008, and its successor the Care Quality Commission, in 2011. Both of the latter organisations visited a representative selection of MOD's Departments of Community Mental Health (DCMHs), and reported favourably on the care and treatment which they provided.

Internally, the DCMHs regularly undertake patient satisfaction surveys, and carry out audits of patient care to ensure that they adhere to the guidelines set out by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). We also ensure that all staff are appropriately registered and subject to regular appraisals. We are always looking for ways to develop our governance processes, and recently devised mental health dashboards (in conjunction with Defence Statistics) to enable more effective analysis of individual patient data, including clinical improvement and occupational fitness.

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