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Support for Scotland's war veterans

04/10/2007

Minister for Public Health Shona Robison today confirmed a clear commitment to the welfare of Scottish war veterans suffering from mental illness.

The Scottish Government has ensured Scottish war veterans will continue to benefit from the work done by the charity Combat Stress by increasing levels of funding. Combat Stress provides treatment to individual veterans suffering from mental illness

This is a joint initiative with the Ministry of Defence, who have pledged UK-wide funding.

The Minister said:

"The Scottish Government takes seriously its responsibilities and is committed to ensuring that our veterans receive the high quality, appropriate care and treatment they so deserve.

"While today's funding announcement covers 2007/08, we will be discussing with Combat Stress and the Ministry of Defence, to ensure greater certainty for the future of these important services."

Background:

Combat Stress offers short stay remedial treatment at three specialist short-stay Treatment Centres in Shropshire, Surrey and at Hollybush House, Ayrshire. These provide a range of treatments including psychiatric support and occupational therapy to help veterans rebuild their lives and provide a break for the families of traumatised veterans.

Current funding arrangements involve a historic "Host Board" arrangement with NHS Ayrshire and Arran who are invoiced and then reimbursed by the Scottish Government for referrals by the Veterans Agency to Hollybush House. Latest available costs show around #830k costs for referrals to Hollybush House.

There will be an increase of 45 per cent in the fees paid by the Ministry of Defence and the Scottish Government to the charity Combat Stress. The increase is phased. There will be a 28 per cent increase from April 2007, rising to 35 per cent on October 1, 2007 with a further fee increase to 45 per cent from January 1, 2008.