Mental Health screening cutoff extended to 1982

Veterans Minister Derek Twigg MP has announced at a press conference today that the Medical Assessment Programme at St Thomas' Hospital in London is being extended, to allow more former Service personnel to seek professional advice on mental illnesses they feel are linked to their time in the Armed Forces.

I gather the cutoff date has been put back to 1982, thus allowing veterans of the Falklands campaign as well as Gulf 1 & 2 and Afghanistan to be considered for screening.

My quick reaction while further info awaited:

good news as far as it goes,

what about pre-1982 veterans of NI, etc;

and what about TREATMENT which is tailored for veterans.

Free mental health assessment for Falklands and Afghanistan Veterans launched (Full info with link below)

Defence Committee meeting tomorrow. Defence Secretary also stated back in March / April new pilot schemes for mental health support in co-operation with the NHS and Combat Stress are to start some time this year.

Defence Committee
Armed Forces Medical Care
Former servicemen,; Army Families Federation, Ex-Services Mental Welfare Society (Combat Stress), Royal Air Forces Association, Royal British Legion and Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (at 11.30am).

Free mental health assessment for Falklands and Afghanistan Veterans launched

A Medical Assessment Programme set up to help Gulf War Veterans to seek advice on injuries that may be related to military service has been vastly expanded to allow a wide range of service veterans to benefit from the medical service.

The Medical Assessment Programme (MAP), which is based at St Thomas' Hospital in London will now offer a mental health consultancy programme for all Veterans who served since 1982. This includes all those who fought in the Falklands.

The MAP was originally set up 14 years ago to help veterans who served in the 1990-91 Gulf War. In recent years it has been extended to include Porton Down Volunteers and those who have served in the current Iraq operations. Today's announcement will also see the MAP offered to veterans with operational service in Afghanistan.

The purpose of the MAP is to investigate the veteran's concerns with a view to providing a diagnosis and to recommend appropriate treatment options. The examination and clinical tests at the MAP are provided to the patient free of charge. The MoD will also meet the costs of any further tests the MAP physician recommends.

Derek Twigg, Veterans Minister, said:

"I am delighted to be able to announce that we are opening up the medical assessment programme at St Thomas' Hospital to a larger group of Veterans. This is designed to help address service related mental health issues amongst veterans. I hope our former service personnel make use of this excellent programme if they or their GP have any concerns that they are suffering from a medical condition linked to their military service.

"As Veterans Minister I take the welfare of our former service personnel very seriously and I am always looking at how we can improve the support available when they leave the Armed Forces."

Notes to Editors

1. The Medical Assessment Programme (MAP) is currently staffed by Dr Ian Palmer, an ex-serving military medical officer. He is a qualified GP and Consultant Psychiatrist. Dr Palmer is a visiting Professor of Military Psychiatry to the Institute of Psychiatry in London and has extensive experience and knowledge of military psychiatry and the mental health of personnel in all three services. Dr Palmer has worked at the MAP for the last 10 months.

2. When personnel leave military service their healthcare becomes the responsibility of the NHS. War pensioners are entitled to priority NHS treatment for accepted disablements. Priority is decided by the clinician in charge and is based on clinical need. Regular reminders of the provision are sent out by the NHS Executive to Trusts and clinicians.
I met a number of people during my service who were obviously not 'normal' a number of these had never heard a gun go bang anywhere but on the ranges. The eccentricity of the service environment just made room for them and they were considered with understanding. The problem with the latest offering from the Government is that it is as usual reacting to trendy emotion, this time being the Falklands 25th, notice that Porton Down is also included.

It is frankly a disgrace that any veteran who feels that they have mental health issues as a result of their service, whether connected to a specific conflict or not, should be denied a simple path to mental health assessment


Book Reviewer
A welcome step in the right direction, albeit too late, sadly, for many Falkland veterans.
A Man from BAFF has just been speaking about this on BFBS Radio 2, Glen Mansell Show. Sorry that this time it wasnt possible to give a quick heads up.
Total disgrace....

A VICTIM of Gulf War Syndrome has died aged 48 after a failed heart transplant operation, leaving two children.

They also believed the stress caused by a "heartless" decision to cut his war pension by 60 per cent last Christmas was another factor behind him suffering a heart attack in the spring, which prompted the transplant surgery.

"He was devastated by that decision," said Hazel.

"He felt he had been betrayed yet again by the country he served as a soldier. It was the final straw. It also meant he would struggle to keep his family."

Maria Rusling, general manager of the Gulf War Veterans And Families Benevolent Association, said she too believed the syndrome and the war pension cut were primarily to blame for his death.
Well feck me here we go again.

Another classic example of this government taking 10 years to do the right thing. Again this issue has been cover by the media and has stung the administration into action. This screening should be extended to all ex forces personnel, as I'm pretty sure that the conflicts of this world did not start in 1982.

This is government spin to cover up complancy and penny pinching. What would really impress me would be for the government to put its money where its mouth is and donate £100 million pa (current amount we spend on translating documents to Combat Stress, reopen Haslar and fund it for this purpose.

Tossers :x
Arbuthnot, on the forum, writes:
"The MoD says that it co-operates with the NHS to look after casualties from operational theatres at Selly Oak, and also to deliver a range of elective care at Ministry of Defence Hospital Units (MDHUs). It may be that this co-operation will be extended in the future, and the Committee will look at it from both the military and civilian sides during our inquiry.

With regard to veterans, their medical care is provided by the NHS rather than the MoD; but we are aware that there are people who think that the MoD's responsibility should extend to veterans, and we will consider all opinions before we write our report.

The Committee is certainly keen to engage with veterans' groups on a whole range of issues. This morning, we had a lively and interesting evidence session with representatives of SSAFA, the Royal British Legion, the AFF, the RAFA and Combat Stress; the transcript of the meeting will be available on our website early next week.

As far as the Committee is concerned, no issues have been 'decided upon'. We will be taking evidence until the autumn, and only then will we start to reach any conclusions."

The Rt Hon James Arbuthnot MP, Chairman of the Defence Committee
A problem with this is that as soon as serviceman/woman is medically discharged due to injury on active service (therefore eligible for war pension), it seems that it is policy that the MOD have no responsibility for said ex-serviceman/woman as he/she is now a civilian and therefore is eligible to take part in the NHS lottery fiasco.

I have just had a long-ish conversation with the Vets Agency with regard to medical treatment, which boils down to:
"war pensioners have a right to priority treatment in hospitals as either in-patients or out-patients for their war pensioned injuries, subject to clinical priority"

This is all fine and dandy except for this proviso:
"There is no onus on GP's to recognise war pesioners/vets as having any priority, or to refer them to consultants for said pensioned injuries."

I believe I am correct in understanding that combat stress/ptsd is war pensionable - feel free to correct this notion.

I urge all to take part in the DefCom consultation - click the link below.

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