Healthcare Tips

Veterans Mental Health Service Extended Across Wales

November 02, 2017

A pilot project to support armed services personnel experiencing mental health problems as a result of their service will be extended across Wales, Health Minister Edwina Hart announced.

The service, which has been trialled in the Cardiff and Vale and Cwm Taf Health Board areas, offered access to clinicians with expertise in veterans' mental health to provide assessment and suitable treatment.

The two-year pilot was based at the University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, funded by £135,000 from the Welsh Assembly Government and Ministry of Defence.

The new all-Wales service will be funded fully by the Assembly Government from April with an investment of £485,000 per year.

The new service will include:

- Veterans who experience mental health and well-being difficulties to have a comprehensive assessment to assess their psychological and social needs;
- Veterans and carers to be involved in the development of a management plan to meet their health and care needs; and,
- Veterans and carers to be given information on other services and support that they are entitled to in an effort to improve their health and quality of life.

Veterans in Wales already receive priority treatment on the NHS for a health condition related to their military service and the Health Minister has required Health Boards and NHS Trusts to designate an Armed Forces and Veterans' Champion to drive forward improvements.

Mrs Hart said: "I am determined to improve the care for people who have experienced health problems as a result of their military service. We owe them a debt of gratitude and have a duty of care to them.

"I recognise the impact that military service has had on people's mental health. I understand that people who have been supported by this pilot project under the leadership of Professor Jon Bisson have found it extremely beneficial. That is why I am acting quickly to fund the expansion of this service to maximise the benefits for individuals and their families across Wales.

"In addition, I am bringing together senior staff from the NHS, Assembly Government and Ministry of Defence at a workshop to look at how we can further strengthen care and support for members of the armed services and veterans."

Professor Jon Bisson added: "This is excellent and very exciting news. Health Boards will now identify staff to deliver a service that will allow us to build on the success of the pilot project and ensure that veterans across Wales can access and benefit from a local service that is tailored to meet their needs."

Welsh Assembly Government