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Last Updated: Monday, 4 June 2007, 08:54 GMT 09:54 UK
War veterans are 'denied support'
Injured troops being brought ashore during the Falklands
Injured troops being brought ashore from Sir Galahad
Traumatised Falklands' veterans claim they are being denied the care and support they need to rebuild their lives after serving their country.

BBC Wales's Eye on Wales has spoken to ex-servicemen who have struggled to cope after serving in the armed forces.

Scores of Welsh Guards were caught up in the bombing of the troop ship the Sir Galahad during the Falklands War.

The assembly government said it would consider a meeting to discuss proposals for a treatment centre in Wales.

As survivors of the war prepare to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Argentine surrender this month, Eye on Wales reveals that charity Combat Stress - the only organisation offering specialist residential treatment for ex-combat veterans - is considering opening a new treatment centre in Wales.

Since the closure of the UK's military hospitals, it has provided a safety net for hundreds of ex-servicemen and women suffering post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, alcoholism, drug dependency and other mental difficulties.

The Sir Galahad on fire during the Falklands War
Forty-eight Welsh Guards died when the Sir Galahad was attacked

The charity runs three treatment centres, providing a total of 90 beds in Shropshire, Surrey and Ayr in Scotland.

Wales's sole specialist PTSD centre caters only for patients from Cardiff and the Vale, and many veterans face a postcode lottery in trying to find the appropriate help and support in the community.

Commodore Toby Elliott, chief executive of Combat Stress, said: "Typically, eight years ago we had about 300 cases referred to us, but last year we had 965 new cases and this year, it looks as if it's going to be even greater than that."

He added that it can take "many years" for ex-servicemen to realise they need help, and he claimed that the NHS did not "really understand them and can't cope with them".

Former Welsh Guardsman Chris Duggan, diagnosed with PTSD after the Falklands, has benefited from the care provided by Combat Stress.

Mr Duggan, from Swansea, said: "The facilities and treatment centre is amazing, but the main thing about Combat Stress is that you're there with people who have served in the forces, who have psychological problems."

A Welsh Assembly Government spokesman told Eye on Wales they would consider any approaches from Combat Stress to discuss proposals for a treatment centre in Wales.




SEE ALSO
Timeline: Argentina
25 May 07 |  Country profiles

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