Ex Forces Mental Health

Charles Brindley made this Freedom of Information request to Ministry of Defence

This request has been closed to new correspondence. Contact us if you think it should be reopened.

The request was partially successful.

Charles Brindley

Dear Sir or Madam,

Since the start of Op's Herric and Telic who many servicemen / women have been treated for Combat / Service Related Mental Health illnesses, how many have been treated and RTU'd, how many have been discharged?

Could you give me a breakdown by year and individual operational area?

Secondly, how many of those discharged have been seen at MAP (Dr Ian Palmer) for a full assessment to be sent to the individuals GP?

Thirdly, how many of those who have been on Herric and Telic are now waiting to be seen by Combat Stress?

Yours faithfully,

Charles Brindley

SGD-SEC-1(Holdridge, David C1),

Dear Mr Brindley,

Thank you for your Freedom of Information request of 11^th May to the
Ministry of Defence, in which you asked for the following information:

o Since the start of Op's Herric and Telic who many servicemen / women
have been treated for Combat / Service Related Mental Health
illnesses, how many have been treated and RTU'd, how many have been
discharged? Could you give me a breakdown by year and individual
operational area?
o Secondly, how many of those discharged have been seen at MAP (Dr Ian
Palmer) for a full assessment to be sent to the individuals GP?
o Thirdly, how many of those who have been on Herric and Telic are now
waiting to be seen by Combat Stress?

Since July 2007 the Defence Analytical Services and Advice (DASA)
organisation has reported on the Psychiatric Morbidity of the UK Armed
Forces. Quarterly Reports for the whole of 2007 and the first two quarters
of 2008 are to view both in the Library of the House and on the DASA
website at [1]www.dasa.mod.uk. Equivalent verified data prior to 2007 is
not available and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

The Medical Assessment Programme (MAP) was established in July 1993 to
provide general medical examinations for UK Gulf veterans who were
concerned that their health had been adversely affected by service in the
1990/1991 Gulf Conflict (Operation GRANBY). The scope of the MAP was
subsequently extended by Ministers to include Porton Down Volunteers (PDV)
and veterans from Operation TELIC (the current Iraq deployment). In 2007,
Ministers decided to further extend the MAP to all those veterans deployed
on Operation HERRICK (the current Afghanistan deployment) and to offer
mental health examinations to all veterans with operational service since
1982 concerned that their medical condition was linked to their military
service. To date, approximately 3,500 veterans have attended the MAP
having been referred by their General Practitioners or Service Medical
Officers.

Finally, "Combat Stress" is an independent charity, and you will need to
contact them to obtain an answer to your third question.

Yours sincerely

Surgeon General's Department Secretariat

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Charles Brindley

Dear SGD-SEC-1(Holdridge, David C1),

Sir, you direct me to the dasa website, after looking a many reports, I still am unable to find the detail I was requesting.
I asked for the breakdown by theatre and year of those who were dealt with suffering psychological episodes, their treatment in operational theatre, or those referred to the Priory Clinic and then the numbers seen as the Priory Clinic.
Furthermore, those the Priory Clinic were able to treat successfully and those who were discharged unfit for service by numbers / age / gender and ethnic background, and if held the social economic group these man and women came from.
Notwithstanding once you are a Veteran, no one seems to keep count, or check of those who then go onto suffer with Combat PTSD, I haver asked the Mod, the NHS and the SPVA and none of them are able to give me any real figures as to the number who are now discharged and those who and sought treatments through the NHS.
The SPVA tell me they have had few complaints about the Veterans Priority scheme, it does not surprise me when the SPVA went on and told me they have no idea of those who are suffering Mental Health illness, after all the SPVA only pay their War Pensions for service related illness / injury, so why and how they could be expected to know, or again was that just a 'Whitewash Answer'?
With figures of some 300 + of those Veterans from the Falklands who have taken their own lives after discharge, with the NHS still unable, or in some cases not even having ANY Care Pathways in their local area to deal with Ex Service Personnel who present with Combat Psychological Illness!

I therefore look forward to a more detailed reply next time. Perhaps it would be interesting to find out by UK region the reported numbers been seen by Dr Ian Palmer, as there is such disparity in information out there for the Veteran to access help when it is needed. The SPVA who have all the names of Veterans could as I suggested send a newsletter to all Veterans as to what is on offer and where and who they are able to access the most appropriate care for them and their families, or don't the SPVA care either?

Yours sincerely,

Charles Brindley

Francis Brown left an annotation ()

I to am investigating a possible link to mental ill health and relationship to military service.
See my FOI requests;
Mental/ Nervous breakdowns after going to Porton Down sent on 23rd August 2009;----
Composition of rubber used in NBC suits
sent on 29th August 2009;----
Study on chemical used in making CB suits
sent on 6th September 2009;---
As I have been sent information relating to chemicals used in the making of NBC suits and some of them can cause ill health if inhaled; ingested; or absorbed on checking various reports that have been published around the world and the chemical industry warning of the dangers of contact and ill health with certain chemicals.
I hope that this may help you to get answers and for me to get a response.

VC206 left an annotation ()

I am a Falklands War veteran with first hand experience of combat PTSD it's effects and the entire helpless uncoordinated system willfully avoiding the obvious and I can tell you that these are all whitewash answers designed to give you the run around to effect maximum delay.

I have been using the FoI system since day one and in that time I have worried the MoD to the point of refusal to service subject access data and FoI requests.

The PHSO have been dragging it's heals over investigating the MoD/SPVA/IC, which leads me to sincerely doubt they will see right and do it, though I hope I'm wrong.

The MAP a joke. The NHS is clueless. The MoD want to play hide and seek with the data. The SPVA are complicit, as is the last Information Commissioner.

On other maters:

- I can confirm that Combat Stress send reports to the MoD because they pay for treatment (most of the time) or to the individuals GP on the rare occasions when they do not. Individuals concerned have no say in the matter!

- Charity arises where Government fails, therefore it is important to press for the FoI Act to be applied to Charities. Government must not be allowed to hide behind charity and charity, if it is to take over the from government failure must be held accountable.

- I have complained repeatedly about the lack of Veterans Priority in the NHS at the highest levels to no avail. Like so many others, I have been unable to get the healthcare I need, have earned and deserve.

While chemicals may interfere with the uncooked brains of young service personnel and bring about a range of illness, NBC suits have not always been around in Wars, the effects of combat stress have.

My own research suggests combat PTSD is provably a physical injury with a clear cause and effect rather than a mental health problem ending in disorder.

This site and in particular this link may be of interest:

How do the MoD bury PTSD?
http://veterans-uk.ws/topic/15/

Dear Sir or Madam,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Ministry of Defence's handling of my FOI request 'Ex Forces Mental Health'.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/ex...

Yours faithfully,

Charles Brindley

MOD FOI Internal Reviews Team,

Dear Mr Brindley,

Unfortunately, your follow-up letter dated 16 June 2009 addressed
to the Surgeon General's Department Secretariat was not brought to
our attention at the time. Technically you are out of time for an
internal review of your original request (the time limit is 40
workings days: 3 August 2009), as advised in the substantive
response of 8 June 2009. However, the main point of contention
appears to be the fact that you do not have the level of detail
required about the numbers of service personnel treated for what
you term "combat/service-related mental health illnesses".

Your original request for information was partly for the numbers of
personnel treated and returned to unit and those discharged, broken
out by year and individual operational area, but in your letter of
16 June you stated your request somewhat differently than before.
Quote: "the breakdown by theatre and year of those who were dealt
with suffering psychological episodes, their treatment in
operational theatre, or those referred to the Priory Clinic and
then the numbers seen at the Priory Clinic. Furthermore, those the
Priory Clinic were able to treat sucessfully and those who were
discharged unfit for service by numbers/age/gender and ethnic
background, and if held the social economic group these man [sic]
and women came from".

If you still require this extra information we will treat this
request as a new request for information under the Act. Please
advise.

FOI Internal Review Team

Dear MOD FOI Internal Reviews Team,

The initial reply although links were given, after looking through all the data, I could not find the specific informatiom as requested.

Therefore could you been somewhat more specific in your reply? As the data I have received from other sources give cause for concern.

Yours sincerely,

Charles Brindley

VC206 left an annotation ()

Deliberately poor and obstructive MoD FOI Team responses demonstrate how the MoD DO NOT take "Mental Health" seriously and show the extent to the MoD will go to escape and evade answers.

The MoD do want anyone to have a full and true picture of any data, because it will show the extent to which they are lying and NOT taking "mental health" seriously.

VC206 left an annotation ()

Correction. The MoD DO NOT WANT anyone to have a full and true picture of the data.

Charles Brindley

Dear Sir or Madam,

Once again please:
Could you give me a breakdown by year and individual operational area?

Secondly, how many of those discharged have been seen at MAP (Dr Ian Palmer) for a full assessment to be sent to the individuals GP?

Thirdly, how many of those who have been on Herric and Telic are now waiting to be seen by Combat Stress?

Yours faithfully,

Charles Brindley

Alvin Pritchard. left an annotation ()

*** See my F.O.I question "Cheating Recruits Of H.M Forces" --- We are both on the same line!!

D. Speers left an annotation ()

D. Speers left an annotation (12 November 2009)
You may be interested in looking at the responses to the Parliamenary Health Select Committee Report into Patient Safety, published recently on Hansard,there are failures in health regulation, which I feel only legislation will help sort out.
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa...

Good luck
Dee

SGD-SEC-GpMailbox (MULTIUSER),

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SGD-SEC-GpMailbox (MULTIUSER),

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Charles Brindley

Dear SGD-SEC-GpMailbox (MULTIUSER),

As we both know the Proiory Clinic was got rid of for what ever the reason, some say it was there low success rate and low return rate to the unit?

We are aware that the new contract is with two West Midlands PCT's (North Staffs and Shropshire), this however does not have anything to do with the initial request under the FOI as to the number who reported Combat Mental Health poblems in the field by theatre of war.

Given now that Combat Stress seem to be working to the study done by Manchester University, that the problem is more to do with addiction and an unstable home life prior to enlistment. In some cases this maybe the case, why are so many turing to these addictions, if only to hide away from the horror and reality of combat experienced to the same level of the Korean War and back then we still had military hospitals and Netley just outside Southampton.

So I will ask again, how many by age and type have reported and gone on for Mental Health treatments as a result of their experienses on Herrick and now Telick?

Or is this exercise more about hiding the real numbers of those who have and are suffering Combat Mental Health illness?

Sincere regards
Charles Brindley
(War Pensioner)

Yours sincerely,

Charles Brindley

Alvin Pritchard. left an annotation ()

About 50% will go down with "various degrees" of mental illness during the course of there lives due to their battlefield experiences.
No one will be able to totally eradicate the memories of active service from their minds.

Charles Brindley left an annotation ()

Why do government refuse to do 'Psychometric Testing' both post tour and prior to discharge, to identify those who are at risk of future mental health illness?
The American armed forces now all recieve this, even the national guardsmen (TA).

After all if you catch any mental health illness early, it can be fully treated and the individual and their family can intergrate fully into civilian life, paying taxs when in full employment.

Is 'Decompression' working for the individual?

D. Speers left an annotation ()

It seems the only way to get Early Intervention Services is to make sure "local needs are fully identified" via Local Involvement Networks aka LINks. As Local Authorities had Government funding to set up LINks, you can check with your local authority as to what LINks service is available in your area www.nalm.org.uk

If LINks is not accessible then the Strategic Health Authority have a Performance Management responsibility and PCT have commissioning rights (identified by local LINks.....but around and around I'm afraid.) There is also the National Commissioning Group as identified by the Dept of Health and Health Service Guidlines,(HSG) which all health services are "expected" to adhere to....not sure how these expectations are evidenced as met though!
http://www.ncg.nhs.uk/ which may be worth exploring.

D. Speers left an annotation ()

It may also be worth exploring the All Party Parliamentary Group on Mental Health to see if any of their work has focused on Ex Forces Mental Health. Their Report on mental health in Parliament was interesting!

http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/press/aboutourp...
http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/press/aboutourp...

SGD-SEC-GpMailbox (MULTIUSER),

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Please see attached response to your FOI request.

Jonathon Carr-Brackenbury left an annotation ()

The MOD may well be trying to get it right for recent and current servicepeople with PTSD but are stubbornly refusing to deal with cases arising from Service many years ago.....mine being 42 years ago and diagnosed 15 years ago but still no acknowlegement or investigation from MOD. In fact Thames Valley Police are now investigating and reaching the conclusion that there seems to be a cover up of 'Deepcut Barracks' proportions.....