End postcode lottery for ex-service personnel says AM
5:30am Monday 30th June 2014 in News
A WELSH AM is calling for an end to the "postcode lottery" for after care services offered to ex-service personal suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder in Wales.
Plaid Cymru AM for the South East Wales, Lindsay Whittle said “it is absolutely crucial" that after-care services are in place for ex-service personal throughout Wales.
An Aneurin Bevan University Health Board spokesman confirmed that it has no waiting list for its veteran mental health services, which includes the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder.
From referral to assessment is usually three weeks, and then from assessment to treatment is approximately two weeks.
Having no waiting time for treatment makes it one of the best performers in Wales.
While at the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board the wait for treatment is 26 weeks for veterans.
Mr Whittle said: “I do not think that there is an excuse for ex-service personnel to have to wait up to half a year to get more access to help and treatment in certain health board areas, and I want to see an end to the postcode lottery in Wales."
He also suggested the Ministry of Defence should contribute financially.
“I do not think it is all about the Welsh NHS picking up the financial tab here," he added. "I believe that the Ministry of Defence has a duty of care too.”
Mr Whittle welcomed news that the Welsh Government was taking action to reduce waiting times for veterans.
Last week, Health Minister Mark Drakeford confirmed a £100,000 funding boost for Veterans NHS Wales, to improve access to psychological therapies for veterans with mental health problems.
Recently, Mr Whittle spoke about his visit to Afghanistan four years ago during a Conservative debate at the Senedd on Armed Forces personnel and veterans.
Mr Whittle spoke to about 30 different Welsh troops during his visit, and when he left he was in a hangar with about 500 or 600 UK troops, and they watched a 15 minute video on post-traumatic stress disorder.
He spent five days visiting Camp Souter, the International Security Assistance Force camp, Camp Bastion, Kabul and Kandahar, having to fly during the night because of the risks.
He added: “Lots of my friends and family were very concerned indeed about my personal safety and were worried. I was there for five days.
"What do the families of some of our troops who are there for six months at a time feel? They must be going through living hell.”
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