NHS England is withdrawing £3.2 million in funding from Combat Stress, which represents 20% of their income, however, NHS England say they are using the money to fund a more local service which Veterans want.
Chief Executive Sue Freeth says if necessary she’s prepared to take their case to the Prime Minister
“They have decided that to provide more with the same amount of money, that providing an outpatient service is the right way to go.
“We will continue to make sure that the NHS and the Prime Minister recognizes that this will be a loss to a group of people who are very vulnerable, and who could end up with no NHS funded care- that shouldn’t fall on an organisation funded by the public."
NHS England say their decision to put the money towards a more local system of care is a response to patient feedback and consultation.
Retired Colonel Jonathan Leach, Chair of the Armed Forces Clinical Reference Group for NHS England, said:
“Combat Stress is a very good charity, but some of the feedback from patients is that they had some difficulty accessing some of their courses, and actually they’d like something closer to home”.
NHS England is already offering this new service in some areas and they say responses have been good.
The new service will include help for substance misuse, physical health, employment, accommodation, relationships and finances, as well as occupational and trauma-focused therapies.
It will focus on helping veterans closer to home, rather than requiring them to travel to centres for weeks at a time.
There will be opportunities for families and carers to help plan treatment for their loved ones and they will even be supported to access care and treatment for themselves if required.
However, Combat Stress say a residential care option is the best solution for those veterans with more extreme mental health issues, who may have substance dependency and a more chaotic lifestyle.
The new NHS England service launches officially next month, and they say they hope to extend their offer even further by using technology such as Skype to reach even more veterans in need.