Defence in the Media: Wednesday 31 October 2018

Today’s defence-related news includes coverage of veterans issues and a Royal Navy Commander cleared at a court martial.

Support for veterans

In a story in the Daily Express, former Royal Engineer Gus Hales, 62, has revealed he has gone on a hunger strike in response to a perceived lack of support for veterans.

The former Sergeant plans to continue his protest until after Remembrance Day.

Minister for Defence People and Veterans Tobias Ellwood said:

Over the last few years this Government has stepped up support for veterans, making sure that not only is help there, but people know where to find it.

That’s why we set up the Veterans Gateway, a one stop shop where veterans can access support.

And as the Chancellor announced in the Budget, we’re investing at least £2billion extra a year in our mental health services, with new mental health crisis centres, support in every major A+E unit in the country and more mental health ambulances.

A Government spokesperson said:

We take the mental wellbeing of our serving and former personnel extremely seriously, and we encourage anyone struggling to come forward and access the care they deserve.

The MOD has increased spending on mental health to £22 million a year, and has set up a 24/7 mental health helpline for serving personnel, so that there is always somewhere to turn in times of crisis. Veterans can access specialist medical care from the NHS and find a wide range of service charities through the Veterans’ Gateway – the first port of call for veterans in need of support.

As the Chancellor announced in the Budget on Monday, the Government will spend at least £2billion extra a year by 2023/2024 for mental health services. This will fund new mental health crisis centres, providing support in every major accident and emergency unit in the country and more mental health ambulances, and a 24-hour mental health crisis hotline.

The Armed Forces Covenant Fund will also benefit from £10 million of funding for mental health care for veterans.

Picture of the day: Trooper Kat Dixon at at a land power demonstration on Salisbury Plain

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