Iraq and Afghanistan veterans deprived of long-term support, say MPs

Britain’s armed forces are deprived of the help they need to combat post-traumatic stress, domestic violence, and “hazardous levels of alcohol consumption”, a cross-party group of MPs warn in a report released on Thursday.

They say veterans are faced with a “shocking” backlog in their claims for war pensions and compensation payments, and express concern about the long-term impact on troops deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan who have been injured, either physically or psychologically.

The report, by the Commons defence committee says that while the Ministry of Defence provided first class medical treatment and short-term rehabilitation for injured troops, insufficient attention was paid to those who developed severe physical, mental, or neurological problems in later life.

Troops deployed in combat roles exhibited twice the usual rates of post-traumatic stress compared to the general population, while reservists exhibited twice the rates of regulars.

Rory Stewart MP, the committee chairman, said: “The armed forces is perhaps the most impressive and effective institution in Britain today, and an inspiration to the rest of the country. But there is clearly a correlation between combat operations and challenges in mental health, and we must do all we can to support people through this.”

Walter Busuttil, medical services director at Combat Stress, the mental health charity, described the report as a “timely reminder that veterans may have difficult and complex memories of their time in combat and some may return with psychological wounds”.

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