Combat Stress loses £3.2m of funding from NHS England
Over a month ago
NHS England is withdrawing £3.2 million in funding from Combat Stress, which is equivalent to 20 per cent of the charity's total annual income, but it says it is not anticipating any job losses at this stage. NHS England say they are using the money to fund a more local service which Veterans want.
In a statement, Sue Freeth, chief executive of Combat Stress, said the charity’s residential programmes for veterans with mental health issues were "respected around the world" and called on the NHS to reconsider its decision.
"As we have done for nearly a century, Combat Stress will continue to provide our world-leading in-patient treatment and support service, which is now reliant on funding from our generous individual and corporate supporters," she said.
"However, without the money we once received from the government and the NHS, and with no similar NHS service available, fewer veterans will be able to access residential treatments."
In a statement, NHS England said that its new national service, which will be launched next month, would help veterans stay closer to home and get the support they needed in areas such as occupational therapy, substance misuse, physical health and employment.
Dr Jonathan Leach, chair of NHS England’s Armed Forces and their Families Clinical Reference Group, said: "The NHS is committed to providing every veteran who needs mental health support with the best care, which is why we have already set up a dedicated new service based directly on feedback from veterans themselves.
"To build on this, we are investing £3.2m in a national complex treatment service, launching next month, which will treat more patients, over a longer period and closer to home, which veterans have told us they prefer."
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.