Defence hits back over care allegations
Mon, 28 May 2012 8:13p.m.
Allegations by a Christchurch veterans service that the Government is not doing enough to look after shell-shocked soldiers are unfounded, the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) says.
Rannerdale Veterans Hospital and Home told the New Zealand Herald last week that mainstream mental health services for soldiers suffering the psychological affects of war aren't up to standard.
However, NZDF's head of health, Surgeon Captain Alison Drewry says these claims are unfounded.
"Deployment related stress, in particular Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), is something we take very seriously, and we provide all our personnel with a number of different mechanisms to support them at all stages of a deployment," she said in a statement on Monday.
"By no means does the care offered stop once personnel come home from an operational theatre."
Capt Drewry said all personnel returning from deployment are provided with on-going mental health care and have a health check within three months of returning.
Those who are identified with having mental health needs are referred on to a specialist, she said.
"We do have good systems to address the problems associated with PTSD, and we are improving our systems to encourage people to come forward and not to hide their issues until it is too late."
Rannerdale Home general manager Stephen Shamy said the government is not doing enough to look after war veterans.
"The NZDF is slowly recognising there is an issue but there really needs to be a multi-agency approach, which not just involves health services, to look after ex-service personnel and their families," he told the NZ Herald.
"We know there are problems for returning personnel and we don't believe that main stream psychological health services truly understands modern PTSD."
An inaugural healthcare forum to debate post-deployment care is being held behind closed doors at the Rannerdale Veterans Hospital and Home on Tuesday.
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