Armed forces mental health care to be improved

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A government-commissioned report is recommending that service men and women be routinely screened for mental health problems throughout their employment.

The report by Conservative MP Andrew Murrison, a former Royal Navy medical officer who served as a reservist in Iraq has called for mental health screening to be in all medical examinations, including discharge screenings.

It also recommended that veterans be contacted after a year of leaving the forces and asked if they have any concerns regarding their mental health.

The report also calls for the creations of a specialist mental wellbeing website and online support network, focusing initially on troops returning from operations in Afghanistan.

Defence Secretary Liam Fox says he intends to implement some of the recommendations immediately, such as doubling the number of mental health nurses working with veterans. This will mean that one nurse will be available for every two mental health trusts in England.

Dr Fox said he will also go ahead with plans laid out by the previous government for a 24-hour helpline for veterans in conjunction with the charities Combat Stress and the Royal British Legion.

The Ministry of Defence welcomed the report saying that the Government was committed to providing extra support for former service personnel.

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