Clwyd West Assembly Member Darren Millar AM has called on the Welsh Government to provide extra funding to help support veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
During a Senedd debate this week on Mental Health Services, Darren, who is Chair of the Cross Party Group on the Armed Forces and Cadets, commended the Welsh Government for the establishment of Veteran’ NHS Wales - used by almost 3,000 veterans since its establishment in 2010 - but highlighted pressures within the service and called for Welsh Government action to address them.
“The Welsh Government has to be commended for the establishment of Veterans' NHS Wales, however, there are pressures within the service that need to be addressed.
“One of the big problems that they've had in recent years is capacity. There are variable waiting times across Wales for access to the service. In some places, the wait can be as short as eight weeks, which is obviously very, very good. In other places, it can be as long as 38 weeks, which is clearly unacceptable.
“Those pressures have been relieved, to a certain extent, with an additional investment of £100,000, which recently came through from the Welsh Government, but I'm afraid it's insufficient still to meet the scale of the demand that's out there.
“The service itself has said it needs an additional £250,000 to provide peer mentoring support, which can be embedded as part of the service, which was traditionally there as a result of the Change Step service, which was a Wales-wide service, which was being run by CAIS, which is a charity that operates from my own constituency. So, for just £0.25 million per year, which is small beer in terms of the overall Wales-wide NHS budget, we can make a real difference to these veterans.
“I do believe, Cabinet Secretary, that it's your will that we have the best service that we can possibly have for those veterans here in Wales, so I would sincerely ask that you review the funding arrangements for Veterans' NHS Wales to see whether you might be able to consider this £250,000, in addition to the resources that you've already pledged, so that that service can be a gold-standard service in a way that no other part of the UK actually has.”