Glasgow & West Scotland

Scottish veterans given increased support from government

Image caption The measures are aimed at improving services and support for armed forces personnel and veterans

The Scottish government has announced measures to improve the well-being of service personnel and veterans.

They include new houses in Glasgow with support for veterans living there.

The way former service men and women are recorded on GP records will also be improved.

Minister for Veterans Keith Brown, himself a Falklands War veteran, has published a paper setting out the measures the government is pledged to implement.

The government has already allowed service personnel to apply for social housing before they leave the forces.

Now it will build a unit of 50 homes in Glasgow's Cranhill district where former servicemen and women will also have access to outreach support to help them adjust to civilian life.

Bravery and loyalty

The homes, being constructed by the Scottish Veterans' Housing Association at a cost of £6.5m, will be ready by the end of 2013.

The Scottish government is providing £2.3m towards the overall cost of the project.

The Armed Forces Commitments Paper also addresses the medical needs of former service personnel who may have mental health issues, addiction or suicide concerns.

GP records will be improved to ensure doctors can identify service-related conditions.

Launching the paper at Edinburgh Castle, Mr Brown said the bravery, loyalty and professionalism of Scotland's servicemen and women deserved the government's wholehearted care and support.

He said :"This commitments paper sets out our obligations to serving personnel, their families, reservists, veterans and the bereaved and how we will continue to meet these.

"With input from partner organisations like Veterans Scotland, we will continue to develop, deliver and implement new and innovative policies to support this dedicated group of men and women."

Among other pledges are examining how the NHS can provide the best support possible for family members when reservists are away on operations and encouraging more injured service personnel to take up sport and potentially get involved with events such as the Paralympics.

Immense sacrifice

Veterans' charities have welcomed the commitments announced which they said would allow them to ensure help and support are available to those who have served in the armed forces.

Martin Gibson, of Veterans Scotland, said: "The coherence of the paper's policies will allow Veterans Scotland and the military charities to work in a well defined arena which will go a significant way to ensuring that help and support will be available to our veterans wherever it is needed."

The Rt Hon Donald Wilson, Lord Lieutenant, Lord Provost of the City of Edinburgh and Veterans Champion, said: "Edinburgh has a long and proud tradition of honouring its military service personnel and veterans for the immense sacrifice they make day in and day out to keep this country and its people safe.

"Sending people to war is a huge responsibility but supporting them when they return is just as important.

"In my role as Veterans Champion for Edinburgh, I will work closely with the Scottish government on fulfilling the commitments set out in this paper."

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