Report released on support to ADF injured and ill
23 April 2012
The Department of Defence and Department of Veterans’ Affairs today released the Support for Injured or Ill Project’s (SIIP) Report on the Review of Current Practices.
The review, completed during the second half of 2010, was initiated by Defence to support the development of a seamless and integrated support process for injured or ill Australian Defence Force (ADF) members.
Head People Capability for the Department of Defence, Major General Gerard Fogarty said Defence is committed to caring for ADF members, especially if they are wounded, injured, or ill.
“The report concluded that the current system is generally good, and results indicate a high return to work rate for rehabilitated ADF members. It also recommends that outcomes would be improved through a more coordinated and integrated approach to health care and support.
“Our close involvement with the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) is essential to the development of a seamless and integrated system.”
Major General Gerard Fogarty said a great deal of progress had already been made to improving support services, including adopting many of the recommendations included in the SIIP report.
“Significant progress has been made on implementing recommendations from the review, however, this will take some time as it is critical we execute it successfully,” Major General Fogarty said.
Defence and DVA have now jointly initiated a second phase of work to continue improving the system.
This second phase of work, renamed the Support for Wounded, Injured or Ill Program (SWIIP) to recognise those wounded during combat operations, aims to deliver consistent support to all wounded, injured or ill members during their service and after transition from the ADF.
Work to implement the 31 recommendations from the review is well underway and much of the work is expected to be complete this year.
One of the key SWIIP initiatives which has already been introduced by DVA is the On-Base Advisory Service (OBAS), placing specially trained DVA staff at over 35 Defence bases on either a full or part-time basis.
“This initiative will not only assist those leaving the ADF, but it ensures current serving members understand and are informed about the support and services they may be eligible to receive, including health services, rehabilitation, compensation and income support,” Major General Fogarty said.
The review will also see ADF personnel provided with electronic health records through a new electronic health system to simplify their transition to civilian life and help streamline interaction with DVA.
Mental health is also a priority for both Defence and DVA. In Defence, significant changes have been made to improve the provision of mental health care across the ADF with significant funding allocated to mental health over the past three years.
$83 million has been provided to the ADF over four years to implement recommendations from Professor Dunt’s ADF Mental Health Care Review and $9.5 million to DVA over four years to implement recommendations from Professor Dunt’s Suicide Study.
Through veterans’ affairs arrangements, there are a range of other supports available, including on-line resources which may be found at http://at-ease.dva.gov.au/, counselling services through the Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Services - VVCS, and mental health treatment for those with an accepted mental health condition after discharge.
Defence and DVA are both committed to dealing with support for wounded, injured or ill soldiers as their highest priority.
Soldiers wounded or injured in the line of duty are already seeking care and services at soldier recovery centres, two have opened at Army bases at 3rd Brigade in Townsville and 1st Brigade in Darwin, with a third on its way at 7th Brigade in Brisbane.
These centres provide our wounded with a dedicated health precinct where they are given the best opportunities to rehabilitate, recover and return to their duties.
The Review of Military Compensation Arrangements, released in 2011, showed that the compensation system introduced in 2004 is based on sound policy principles and objectives but, like any new arrangement, also identified some areas of improvement. As part of Budget 2012-13, the Government’s response to the review will be announced.
A copy of the Support for Injured or Ill Project’s Report on the Review of Current Practices can be found at:
Defence Media Operations: 02 6127 1999
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203
The VVCS – Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service can be contacted 24 hours a day, seven days a week on 1800 011 046.