Afghanistan: Peacekeeping Operations

Ministry of Defence written question – answered on 23rd November 2018.

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Photo of Adam Holloway Adam Holloway Conservative, Gravesham

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps the Government is taking to support veterans of Operation Herrick.

Photo of Adam Holloway Adam Holloway Conservative, Gravesham

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether the Government plans to introduce further measures to support veterans of Operation Herrick.

Photo of Tobias Ellwood Tobias Ellwood The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence

Operation Herrick finished in 2014, so many veterans of the campaign will still be serving. All Armed Forces personnel are supported by dedicated and comprehensive medical services, including mental health support. Current Service personnel are provided with pre- and post-operational stress management training, psychiatric and psychological treatments, and initiatives such as Trauma Risk Incident Management (TRiM - peer to peer support after a traumatic incident). The Ministry of Defence announced in October 2017 a new partnership with the Royal Foundation which will provide resources for training and education for the Armed Forces Community around good Mental Fitness.

Further measures introduced to support Armed Forces personnel include a new 24-hour mental health helpline targeted at serving personnel and their families allowing them to access support for any mental health problems anytime, anywhere.

For those who took part in Operation Herrick, but have left Service, the NHS in England and the Devolved Administrations are responsible for healthcare, including mental healthcare, for veterans. Veterans’ health is broadly aligned with that of the rest of the general population and most veterans’ health requirements are sufficiently met by existing NHS provision. However, several tailored initiatives are already in place to cater for specific veteran needs, including priority access to NHS secondary care in England, Scotland and Wales for Service related conditions, subject to the clinical need of all patients.

Further measures to improve support to veterans include the recently announced Veterans Strategy: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/strategy-for-our-veterans. By 2028 we will be doing more to ensure that each veteran is valued, contributing and supported. One of our aims is that all veterans enjoy a state of positive physical and mental health and wellbeing, enabling them to contribute to wider aspects of society. In order to achieve this outcome, we will focus our efforts on enabling consistency of medical outcomes for veterans, through a smooth transition of provision from in-Service to post-Service and sharing effective practices amongst clinical and healthcare communities; and providing bespoke treatment for those veterans who have specific health needs because of their service.

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