100. On the whole, we have been encouraged by
the current support available to Armed Forces veterans in Wales,
and our recommendations in this Report are aimed at making targeted
improvements to the existing system.
101. The most striking theme to emerge from our
inquiry is that a great deal of support is available for veterans
in Walesbut often a lack of awareness means that support
is not taken up. GPs and others in the medical community are often
unaware that veterans are entitled to priority NHS treatment.
Local authorities may be unaware that they can give preference
to Armed Forces veterans on social housing lists. And, most importantly,
veterans themselves sometimes do not know about available support
and services. The MoD must do better in explaining the support
available for service personnel as part of its resettlement programme.
We make specific recommendations in this area.
102. It can be difficult to reach and inform
Armed Forces veterans once they return to civilian life, especially
those who left the Service many years ago. We believe the best
solution to this problem is a network of 'one-stop shops' for
veterans in Wales.
103. There are reasons to be optimistic. The
Armed Forces Covenant provides a useful framework for the MoD
and the devolved administrations and will hopefully ensure the
needs of veterans are not neglected in future. We are optimistic
that the high profile given to this issue over the past decade
will be maintained in future. It is the very least our brave Armed
Forces personnel deserve.