NHS still unable to reveal basic details of planned study into veteran suicide rates

AN NHS body responsible for leading pilot schemes to help prevent veteran suicides has not been able to provide basic details of its plans, even though the projects were due to have already begun.

Thursday, 21st February 2019, 2:04 pm
Updated Thursday, 21st February 2019, 3:09 pm
The last British troops leaving Camp Bastion in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. Campaigners say mental health issues can take years to manifest and are urging action. Photo: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

The Cross-Government Suicide Prevention Workplan, billed as the first published comprehensive national and local delivery blueprint for addressing suicide, was released last month.

It ‘sets out clear actions, deliverables and timescales, ensuring transparency and enabling progress to be tracked, clearly identifying owners for delivering priorities which can be held to account’.

One part of the plan focuses on how to improve mental health for military veterans.

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The report said NHS England was working with a small number of sustainability and transformation partnerships – regional groups of health and care leaders – to develop pilots on access to services for veterans ‘with immediate effect’.

Work was due to start in January or this month, according to the workplan.

But following repeated requests from JPIMedia for information about the locations and nature of the pilots, NHS England said it had not yet announced the sites or dates, and would not volunteer any new information until it was ‘in a position to say more’.