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Delivery of care

There are 15 military Departments of Community Mental Health (DCMH) providing outpatient mental health care in the UK. All are staffed by psychiatrists and mental health nurses with access to clinical psychologists and mental health social workers, offering treatments including medication, psychological therapies and environmental adjustment where appropriate.

The MOD's current delivery of mental health care follows a 1994 report which resulted in a move away from military hospitals. The report concluded being that people respond to psychiatric treatment better if they have the support of families and friends.

As a result, the last military psychiatric hospital, the Duchess of Kent Psychiatric Hospital in Yorkshire was closed and in-patient care is provided now in specialised psychiatric units, under a contract between the MOD and a consortium of NHS Trusts.

On operations

In Afghanistan, we have highly skilled and experienced uniformed mental health nurses providing the necessary care and treatment for personnel that need it. A consultant psychiatrist visits every three months or so.

Additionally, a permanently on-call consultant psychiatrist is available to provide specialist support. A team comprising a psychiatrist and two mental health nurses are at immediate readiness to go to Afghanistan to support if required.

If personnel need to leave the operational environment, their care - either outpatient or inpatient - continues in the UK.

At home

The current regional method of DCMH delivery of outpatientcare, supported by the NHS Trust inpatient facilities, allows us to offer treatment promptly at a location close to the patient’s home or unit.

In-patient treatment is a last resort but all personnel who require emergency inpatient care are admitted immediately.

Those with a serious problem are offered an appointment the next working day and those with other mental health problems are offered appointments within 28 days. This compares extremely favourably to the NHS.