Armed Forces Covenant

Ministry of Defence written question – answered on 21st October 2015.

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Photo of Danny Kinahan Danny Kinahan UUP, South Antrim

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps he has taken to ensure that the Armed Forces Covenant fully addresses the healthcare needs of all active and retired servicemen and women with (a) post-traumatic stress disorder and (b) other conditions.

Photo of Mark Lancaster Mark Lancaster The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence

The Armed Forces Covenant sets a number of goals with respect to healthcare, including that members of the Armed Forces community should enjoy the same standard of, and access to, healthcare as received by any other UK citizen in the area where they live. With regard to Mental Health, the Armed Forces Covenant states that veterans should be able to access mental health professionals who have an understanding of Armed Forces culture.

The Ministry of Defence provides primary healthcare for all Service personnel including mobilised Reservists. The provision of veterans' healthcare, including for those affected by post-traumatic stress disorder and other conditions, is primarily the responsibility of the National Health Service in England and the Devolved Administrations. Veterans in England, Scotland and Wales are entitled to priority access to secondary healthcare for conditions suspected to be due to their service in the Armed Forces, subject to the clinical needs of others. In Northern Ireland, the mental health needs of returning ex-Service personnel continue to be addressed either through the Ulster Defence Regiment and Royal Irish Aftercare Service, through Combat Stress, or directly within the mainstream Primary Care and Mental Health services.

For a summary of our approach to ensuring that our serving Armed Forces personnel receive the very best mental healthcare provision, I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 10 September 2015 to Question 9141 to the hon. Member for Tewkesbury (Mr Robertson).

For details of the steps we have taken to ensure that veterans are provided with the support they need, I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 15 September 2015 to Question 9865 to the hon. Member for Inverclyde (Mr Cowan).

Veterans: Mental Health Services (Word Document, 14.79 KB)

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