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Mental health service for veterans secured

Posted on the 10th June 2015

Military veterans living in Lancashire will continue to receive specialist mental health support from the NHS following a competitive tender.

Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust will now provide the Military Veterans’ Service in partnership with Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust.

Pennine Care has previously led the service for the last four years across the North West as part of a pilot and has so far helped over 1,000 veterans with a range of mental health problems.

The Military Veterans’ Service provides mental health support to ex-service personnel for conditions including depression, alcohol and substance misuse, anger problems and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Following the contract award, veterans will continue to receive much needed mental health support from experts who understand the impact of military service, as well as having sound knowledge of the local area. These include Clinical Psychologists, specialist Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners and Case Managers

The team won a national Positive Practice in Mental Health Award in 2013 for its innovative approach to working with veterans.

Dr Alan Barrett, Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Lead for the Military Veterans’ Service, commented: “It is fantastic that veterans in the area will continue to have access to a specialist psychological therapies service. Whilst most veterans are happy to use generic NHS services, many of those with more complex mental health needs benefit significantly from working with staff who combine excellent clinical skills with an understanding of armed forces culture.

“Some of our  staff are veterans themselves and others have family members in the forces. Veterans have told us this makes a big difference in giving them confidence that the service can help them.

“Over the last four years we have developed strong working relationships with colleagues in mental health services across the North West, voluntary sector agencies, local authorities and the Ministry of Defence. We look forward to building on those partnerships to provide the integrated care our veterans need.”

Sue Crutchley, Senior Business Manager at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust said:

“We’re absolutely delighted to be working in partnership with Pennine Care to deliver such an invaluable service to veterans in Lancashire. As a Trust we have a history of delivering services to veterans and we’re looking forward to working in collaboration to improve the experiences of our service users locally.”

Pennine Care will also be providing the service to veterans in Greater Manchester, whilst Greater Manchester West Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust will deliver the service across Cheshire and Merseyside, excluding Liverpool.

Bury Clinical Commissioning Group awarded the contract on behalf of all Clinical Commissioning Groups. The new service will commence from 1 July 2015.

Veterans can self-refer to the service easily by either using the online form at www.penninecare.nhs.uk/military-veterans  or calling 0300 323 0707 to speak to a member of staff.

They can also speak to their GP, health and social care professional or voluntary sector worker to make a referral on their behalf.