Mark Drakeford has spoken of his commitment to armed forces veterans in Wales as part of Welsh Labour’s plans to boost specialist support.
The Welsh Labour Government has announced more funding for Veterans NHS Wales – Wales’ specialist mental health service, which is exclusively for veterans – as part of a new £500,000 package of support.
It comes at the same time as reports the Conservative UK Government is imposing a 40% cut to the Office for Veterans Affairs.
Veterans NHS Wales is the only national service of its kind in the UK for former service personnel suffering from mental health problems.
Dedicated therapists are based in each health board area to help support the mental health and wellbeing of veterans. Veterans can refer themselves and they will receive support from a therapist who has experience specifically in service-related mental health issues.
The announcement boosts the service by £235,000 annually – a 35% increase.
The full package of support for veterans announced by the Welsh Labour Government includes:
- £275,000 a year to fund Armed Forces Liaison Officers across Wales until 2023
- £50,000 to train prosthetists in Wales in new technologies
- £120,000 to support military charities in tackling loneliness and social isolation
- £250,000 to support armed forces children
Mark Drakeford, Welsh Labour Leader and First Minister, said:
“We need to do all we can to support all those who have served our country and are helping to keep us safe.
“Our Veterans NHS Wales Service is one of a kind and plays an important role in looking after veterans’ mental health and wellbeing.
“Welsh Labour takes its responsibility to the armed forces and to their families seriously.
“The difference with the Tories could not be clearer – we will go on supporting our veterans.”
Jayne Bryant, Welsh Labour candidate for Newport West said:
“These are invaluable services and make a real difference to veterans and their families.
“I continue to work closely with veterans and veterans support groups throughout Newport West. I am so glad to see this vital funding boost from our Welsh Labour Government.
“I’m hugely proud of our serving armed forces for their work alongside NHS staff and volunteers, in delivering the fastest Covid vaccine roll-out in the UK.”