Over half of NHS Boards in Scotland have no idea how many veterans they have treated under the priority scheme, despite a requirement for them to nominate an individual to monitor the Scottish Government policy, the Liberal Democrats have found.
The 2009 Annual Report on cross-government support to forces, their families and veterans states that ‘Each NHS Board is required to nominate an individual to monitor policy on the treatment of veterans.’
Despite this, research undertaken by the Liberal Democrats found that eight of Scotland’s 14 health boards did not know how many veterans had received priority treatment under the Scottish Government scheme.
The research, obtained through Parliamentary questions and FOIs to Scottish health boards, also found that:
- Scotland has 31,700 individuals in receipt of a pension under the War Pension Scheme – this is therefore the lowest possible number of people in Scotland with a condition related to military service
- Four health boards – Tayside, Highland, Western Isles and Shetland – had not treated any veterans under the priority scheme
- Only two health boards had recorded having treated veterans under the priority scheme – Ayrshire and Arran (16) and Lanarkshire (34)
- Lanarkshire and Ayrshire & Arran together have around 18% of Scotland’s total population – assuming an even distribution of war pensioners across Scotland, this would give a priority treatment rate of less than 1%
Commenting, Liberal Democrat Defence Spokesperson, Willie Rennie said:
“The SNP has serious questions to answer over its veterans’ treatment programme.
“The lack of awareness of its effectiveness among NHS boards, and the tiny proportion of injured veterans actually treated by those who have kept track, suggest it has failed to live up to the nationalists’ claims.
“The brave people who have fought for our country deserve more than just spin from the Government.
“Ministers must act urgently to ensure that this scheme is really delivering for the brave men and women who have risked life and limb on our behalf.”