Mark Reckless MP took the opportunity to highlight the plight of Forces personnel suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) during today’s defence questions in the House of Commons.
Speaking during the debate, Mark asked Defence Secretary Liam Fox how GPs could do more to help our veterans;
Mark Reckless (Rochester and Strood) (Con): We have an unusually high proportion of veterans in the Medway towns, and one of our concerns is that too often they fall between the cracks when it comes to mental health services. I am delighted by what the Secretary of State has said about plans for proactive follow-up for cases of post-traumatic stress disorder; it might help those who might not otherwise present with symptoms. Is there more we can do to work with GPs to ensure that they consider whether someone coming into the surgery might be ex-forces and suffering from PTSD?
Dr Fox: My hon. Friend makes a useful point. We have, of course, been trialling our new website and are looking at examinations at the point when personnel leave the armed forces. One issue that I failed to mention and ought to have done is the need to get better information to GPs. I remember practising as a GP and having absolutely no education—[ Interruption. ] I meant in the specific, not the generic. I remember that when I first worked with the armed forces as a doctor it came as a surprise to me how little specific training I had had on their particular needs. I hope that that is now being redressed by the British Medical Association and the Royal College of General Practitioners, because if the doctors do not know what to look for, they are far more likely to miss the problems.