Posted on February 25, 2019
In a report, they said it was a “scandal” that a “shamefully small” part of the UK’s health budget was spent on support for veterans. The NHS and Ministry of Defence should create a specialist mental health centre those in need, the report said.
The government said it spends millions on armed forces’ mental health care.
The recommendations come from the House of Commons Defence Committee – a group of MPs who have been carrying out an inquiry into the issue. Their report, part two of the inquiry, says that despite improvements, “there is no doubt that some serving personnel, veterans and their families who need mental health care are still being completely failed by the system. With specific mental health care provision for armed forces families also non-existent, it is no surprise that many veterans and their families believe that they have been abandoned,” the committee added.
It found many servicemen and women often do not seek help because of the stigma around mental health problems and the fear of damaging their career. And the quality of care given to servicemen and women is a postcode lottery – with “unacceptable variation” across the UK.
‘Waiting a year’
Out of an NHS budget of more than £150bn, less than £10m a year (0.007%) was spent on mental health services specifically for veterans, the committee found.
It said demand was “swamping” the capacity with some individuals being forced to wait up to a year for treatment.