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Tories want better treatment of soldiers

PUBLISHED: 11:21 11 March 2010 | UPDATED: 17:41 25 August 2010

PRESENTATION: Colin Bloom, Chris Phillips, Bob Stewart and Liam Fox.

PRESENTATION: Colin Bloom, Chris Phillips, Bob Stewart and Liam Fox.

POLITICIANS brought a fight for better treatment for junior army servicemen and women to Westminster on Tuesday. Veterans joined Conservative parliamentary candidates Chris Phillips, Colin Bloom and Bob Stewart in a meeting with Shadow Defence Secretary

POLITICIANS brought a fight for better treatment for junior army servicemen and women to Westminster on Tuesday.

Veterans joined Conservative parliamentary candidates Chris Phillips, Colin Bloom and Bob Stewart in a meeting with Shadow Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox to join a

campaign with charity Action for Armed Forces to provide better help for veterans.

Beckenham's Tory candidate, Colonel Bob Stewart, president of the charity, presented Dr Fox with a book by the charity and its Scottish partner First Base recounting the plight of three soldiers who suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Chris Phillips, candidate for Penge and Lewisham West, said the government should get its priorities right: "It is vital that proper treatment is made available for all those who suffer from mental or physical injury as a result of their service to our country - including after they have left the armed forces."

Co-founders of the charity ex-1 Para Ricky Clitheroe, Dunkirk veteran and ex-SAS George Kay, 89, and its director Damian Thompson, who served in Northern Ireland and Bosnia, joined the delegation.

Mr Clitheroe and Mr Kay have been known to take part in demonstrations and recently chained themselves to Buckingham Palace railings and the statue of Field Marshal Montgomery opposite Downing Street to raise awareness of the charity.

Bromley councillor and candidate for Erith and Thamesmead, Mr Bloom said: "Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is something that can hit a serviceman or woman long after they leave the military, it effects both the veteran and their family.

"We have a moral duty to ensure that there is a 'though life' mental health service for our brave servicemen and women that gives our returning heroes the support they need.

"It is a national disgrace that about three quarters of all GPs are not sufficiently trained to recognise PTSD and that many veterans that suffer from it can end up sleeping rough, self-harming or end up dependant on drink and drugs. More must be done and I am confident that Liam Fox and his team will take away our presentation and use it to shape future government policy.

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