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Veterans: Mental Health Services

Question for Ministry of Defence

UIN 51192, tabled on 31 October 2016

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many referrals have been made by GPs to the Veterans and Reserves Mental Health programme in each of the last three years.

Answered on

8 November 2016

Ex-Service men and women who have deployed since 1982 are eligible to receive assistance from the Veterans and Reserves Mental Health programme (VRMHP), as are reserves who have deployed overseas since 1 January 2003.

All ex-Service personnel referred to the VRMHP will receive a full psychiatric assessment by a Consultant Psychiatrist. This assessment report is then sent on completion to their NHS GP and/or local NHS clinical team with advice on further treatment and care. Since April 2016, this assessment has been provided at the individual’s nearest Ministry of Defence Department of Community Mental Health (DCMH), which for individuals in Worcestershire would most likely be the facility at Donnington, in Shropshire.

From September 2013, referrals to the VRMHP during each 12-month period are as follows:

Sep 2013 – Aug 2014

Sep 2014 – Aug 2015

Sep 2015 – Aug 2016

Veterans

112

130

186

Reserves

52

34

25

% NHS GP referred

25% (75% self)

65% (30% self)

95% (none self)

Fewer than five referrals in the above table are recorded as having come from Worcestershire during the most recent 12-month period.

As the table shows, many referrals to the VRMHP initially came from individuals who self-referred. Since 2015, the VRMHP has strongly encouraged all veterans to obtain an NHS GP referral first, in order to obtain a ‘medically informed’ referral. This has meant in years 2015-2016 almost all referrals have come from the NHS GP, with a small proportion (about 5%) coming from NHS secondary mental health services or Service charities.