I have long maintained an interest in bettering the quality of life for our Armed Forces veterans and their families. I recall with anger how both the Sinn Fein and SDLP MLAs combined to veto my Bill in Stormont to introduce the Military Covenant.
Today there are growing concerns that the full implementation of the Military Covenant inside the Health Service is not delivering for the men and women of the Armed Services. The recent report by Medical Experts confirms this.
Leading professors in psychology and orthopaedics say the healthcare system is not providing veterans with the service they have been promised.
Prof Tim Briggs, a leading orthopaedic surgeon, recently wrote the Chavasse report which outlined the problems former personnel face on the NHS.
He said that “finding access to specialist care was sometimes proving difficult and as a result some veterans were falling through the net and we had to improve things”.
At UKIPs Autumn Conference in Doncaster I was delighted to hear the priority given on positively delivering the Military Covenant.
UKIP called for:-
· A Veterans Department will bring together all veterans services to ensure servicemen and women get the after-service care they deserve.
· Veterans are to receive a Veterans’ Service Card to ensure they are fast tracked for mental health care and services, if needed.
· UKIP will guarantee those who have served in the Armed Forces for a minimum of 12 years a job in the police force, prison service or border force.
· UKIP will change the points system for social housing to give priority to ex-service men and women and those returning from active service.
· All entitlements will be extended to servicemen recruited from overseas.
There can be no excuses, no plausible sound bites which sound patronising only to end in an unacceptable ‘we would love to help but there is no money’ what shameful poppycock, our Armed Forces need support in real financial terms and facilities to match.