Rowen criticises PCT for failing to prioritise war veterans

January 15, 2010 12:00 AM

The Government's scheme for giving war veterans priority NHS treatment is being ignored by Pennine Acute Trust according to research from the Liberal Democrats.

A Freedom of Information request sent to the trust showed that there were no records kept. In reply to the request, the Trust stated that: "we have no record of any veteran asking to be considered under the Veteran Priority Scheme. It therefore follows that none have received or been rejected for priority treatment."

Further figures have shown that only 3 out 15 PCTs in Greater Manchester even had a system for recording cases - and they hadn't actually recorded any. The others had no system in place, with Royal Bolton NHS Trust admitting that they hadn't done so as they were still awaiting guidance from the MOD.

Under the long-standing arrangements, was pensioners in England, Scotland and Wales are suppose to be given priority NHS treatment for the conditions for which they receive a war pension, subject to clinical need. This provision has now been extended to all veterans where a person ha a health problem as results of their military service.

Rochdale MP Paul Rowen is calling on the government to tighten up the scheme and make sure veterans get the treatment they deserve from the NHS.

Paul Rowen said: "The pathetic answer from Pennine Acute Hospital Trust just shows how this Government's veterans' treatment scheme is more spin than substance. If none of our local trusts have any idea whether any veterans have benefited from this, how can we be sure it is working at all? No wonder the Royal British Legion says it isn't effective.

"These are people who have put their lives on the line for this country. They deserve more than meaningless spin from Labour.

"The Government has now promised that it will act urgently to ensure that this scheme really is delivering for the brave men and women across Greater Manchester who have risked life and limb on our behalf which is the least they deserve."

Ex-fusilier and Member of the Royal British Legion, Councillor Peter Clegg, said: "As a member of the British Legion I know many believe that little effective action has been taken in the last year by the government regarding the veteran's priority treatment scheme. Delivery remains inadequate and awareness low and this is simply unacceptable. I will be writing to the Government on behalf of the Rochdale Branch of the British Royal Legion to register my concerns."