NHS Trust Bailed Out by Military Charity

A struggling NHS trust has been bailed out with money from a military charity.

A huge backlog of ex-troops has built up asking the South West Veterans Mental Health Service for assistance.

And in order to meet the demand, the service, overseen by Avon and Wiltshire Partnership NHS Trust, acquired a grand with £390,000 from Help for Heroes.

Commenting in the Commons, several MPs indicated their disgust about the lack of funding for veterans.

Campaigners state that the number of traumatised military personnel, often returning from locations such as Iraq and Afghanistan, are beginning to overwhelm the health service.

But Help for Heroes CEO, Melanie Waters, paid tribute to the quality of service that the NHS delivers to such military casualties.

“The NHS has a world-class team caring for Veterans with mental health needs. Veterans are faced with many unique obstacles when accessing mental health support, and by working with the NHS we hope to make it easier for them to access the tailored support they need. We need the Government to step up and provide NHS Trusts with the necessary funding to ensure Veterans get a fair deal.”

The bailout will be proffered over a three year basis, providing vital psychological therapy and other treatment.

Prime minister Theresa May has previously explicitly stated that mental health treatment in the NHS must match the quality of services provider to those with physical ailments.

Ex-Army officer and Conservative MP, Johnny Mercer, urged Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to review the amount of money set aside for veterans.

“For a charity to have to bail out a government service as essential as this is quite extraordinary. It should absolutely not be for the third sector to provide basic mental health care for those who have served their country. Our veterans must be able to rely on a sustainable service. I would urge the Health Secretary to carry out an urgent view of veterans’ mental health funding as a result of this.”

Responding to reports, a spokesman for the NHS indicated that the healthcare system is already responding to demands.

“NHS England has funded a new £9 million mental health service to support veterans, helping them get quick access to the right care. Before this, Help for Heroes provided grants to some local services which pre-dated the launch of the new, nationwide veterans mental health service.”


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