'Government Letting Down Thousands of War Veterans' NO RESIDENTIAL TREATMENT CENTRE IN WALES FOR PTSD

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), November 1, 2011 | Go to article overview
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'Government Letting Down Thousands of War Veterans' NO RESIDENTIAL TREATMENT CENTRE IN WALES FOR PTSD


Byline: MARTIN SHIPTON

A CHARITY has accused the Welsh Government of letting down thousands of armed forces veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Representatives of Healing The Wounds told a UK Parliamentary Outreach event in Cardiff that Welsh veterans suffering from the condition were worse off than their counterparts in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland because there is no residential treatment centre for them in Wales.

During the event Monmouth Tory MP David Davies, who chairs the House of Commons' Welsh Affairs Committee, confirmed it would be launching an inquiry into the position of veterans in Wales.

Healing The Wounds was founded in December 2009 and has a small base at Tondu, near Bridgend. It claims its proposal to establish a dedicated treatment centre have been rejected out of hand by the Welsh Government.

Kevin Richards, who set up the charity with his wife Carol, said: "The previous Health Minister, Edwina Hart, refused even to meet us.

"Instead we met an official who said he was leaving his job the following week. We've been told the idea has been ruled out on cost grounds."

A document prepared by the charity states that in 2010 there were 250,000 armed forces veterans living in Wales. Based on UK Government estimates that 4% will suffer from PTSD, there would be 10,000 cases in Wales, although some academic research has suggested the figure could be as high as 36%.

Mrs Richards said: "There are very many service veterans who have suicidal thoughts, and a significant number commit suicide.

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