Appropriate reminder of a worthy cause...

From the Sunday Post.

Cash crisis threat to veterans’ home

By Campbell Gunn

THE war in Iraq has renewed fears for the future of Scotland’s only centre for combat stress.
Hollybush House treats ex-servicemen with combat stress — shell-shock — and other stress-induced mental illnesses.
The Ayr home is already running at a loss — but now it’s having to handle more servicemen from Iraq.

Twenty have already been treated and the centre expects a flood of applications over the next year to 18 months.
The house needs a £1 million upgrade to comply with Government regulations.
Patients with a war pension get £150 a week towards treatment, but keeping them at Hollybush costs £190 a week.
Many patients are not yet receiving a pension, which can take up to 18 months to process.
Now Green MSP Chris Ballance is to propose a motion in the Scottish Parliament calling on the Executive to increase the centre’s funding.
Currently, the Executive plans to give the home just £54,000 over the next three years.
“The service provided by Hollybush House is invaluable and unique,” Mr Ballance said.
“If it was forced to close because it could not afford to comply with Government regulations, the Executive would have to spend a lot more than the £1 million required to upgrade the current facilities, in providing an alternative for veterans suffering combat stress.
“Hollybush does not have the resources to tackle the current need, and that need is growing.
“Combat stress is a major problem but the issue is swept under the carpet.
“The Executive has pledged just £18,000 a year in direct aid, a pitiful amount in relation to the size of this problem.
“Troops in active service give everything but they are too often ignored when they come home.
“I am disgusted and deeply disappointed at the Executive’s response to my letters. Jack McConnell has completely failed to prove his support for British troops is anything more than just words.”
Garry Walker, Head of Clinical Services at Hollybush, said the 20 servicemen from the Iraq War suffer anxiety and sleep problems as well as combat stress.
He went on, “We expect more as people drift away from the services because of their experiences.
“It is likely to affect those in the TA more than regulars, as they go straight back into normal jobs again.”
Mr Walker worked previously at Catterick Army Camp and said that base treated more than 100 patients in the first nine months of the Iraq conflict.
“We have 700 on our books here, with 25 beds. Patients come for up to six weeks a year. Some need to come more frequently because of high stress levels.”
And where does all our wonderful lottery money go?
An ideal platform to lobby the Scottish Office over, this is a devolved issue and Scotland are self-funding on this front.
Residential Care homes that are state owned and operated usually does run at a loss.
Making it a charity means that if it is unfunded it folds.
Solution maybe to sell to private company and run as a business, the danger then is the postcode lottery.

Everyone’s a loser it seems.

Hollybush House is owned and operated by Combat Stress. Like Tyrwhitt House, it is an excellent facility - I have referred people who have gone there.

It is all the more important to keep it because NHS provision for PTSD treatment is so pisspoor, the military psych centre has been done away with and because otherwise sufferers in the North would have to go to London, away from family and friends. Were it not for Combat Stress, a higher proportion of homeless people would be ex-service, or ther'd be more suicides. Service personnel suffering PTSD are very badly served by the government.

Useful link:

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