‘Meeting the unique needs of our Armed Forces’ - Ritchie

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UUP Antrim Town candidate Drew Ritchie says he believes his party recognises those people serving in the military, along with their families and dependents, face unique challenges in accessing public services.

And, he said that the government in Northern Ireland must remain responsive in addressing these.

“It is not surprising following an extended period of social upheaval that Northern Ireland has the world’s highest recorded rate of post-traumatic stress disorder,” Mr Ritchie said.

He added: “This will be particularly prevalent within current and former members of our security forces.”

Mr Ritchie said that while the health service in Northern Ireland has a statutory obligation to provide adequate health and social care services for members of the Armed Forces, their families and veterans, the Ulster Unionist Party believes, that at the very least, the services on offer here must remain comparable to that available elsewhere in the United Kingdom.

“Unfortunately until recent years the necessity of members of the Armed Forces to remain mobile until recently often resulted in the loss of a place on health service waiting lists,” Mr Ritchie said.

He added: “The UUP strongly agrees with the simple request of those who currently and have previously served in the Armed Forces, that they simply want to be neither advantaged nor disadvantaged in accessing health services in NI.”

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