Boris Johnson's move to sack Penny Mordaunt 'won't derail' bid for new Hampshire-wide veteran support network
MILITARY campaigners have insisted a radical plan to improve care for traumatised veterans has not been derailed after a key supporter in Whitehall was sacked by Boris Johnson.
For weeks, Southsea-based armed forces support group All Call Signs has been working alongside defence secretary Penny Mordaunt to set up the ‘life-saving’ initiative.
The scheme would see military groups and charities working more closely together with the county’s emergency services to create a new system to care for veterans in crisis.
But the proposal was dealt a blow after Brexiteer Ms Mordaunt was unexpectedly sacked from her role during the prime minister’s brutal culling of Theresa May’s old top team.
Stephen James, co-founder of All Call Signs, insisted that despite the setback they would still plough on with the plan.
‘There are a lot of moving parts to this and it wasn’t reliant on Penny being the defence secretary,’ the retired soldier said. ‘But she was a useful ally to have [in government].’
The team has already approached Ms Mordaunt’s replacement as defence secretary, former army officer Ben Wallace, for help.
However, the new cabinet minister has yet to respond to their request.
Campaigners hope the new system would provide veterans quicker access to help after first coming to the attention of the authorities.
Mr James said he had already been in ‘positive talks’ with the NHS, Hampshire Constabulary and armed forces charities about the scheme.
He added: ‘A lot of these times, the emergency services will come across veterans in crisis but they don’t have a pathway to send these people onto so they can become lost in the system.’
In the long run, it’s hoped Whitehall will be able to fund a number of ‘case workers’ within each organisation, who could signpost where veterans can go for help and keep track of them when they do.
‘There’s no shortage of want or will. It’s about how we get together and make all these moving parts work,’ Mr James said.
The scheme could be up and running by the end of the year.
If successful, campaigners hope it will be rolled out nationally.