20/12/2011 02:40 GMT | Updated 18/02/2012 05:12 GMT

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Should Be Investigated By Government, Urges MP

Civilian doctors understand "very little" about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) when it appears in veterans long after they have retired, a Tory MP claimed as he urged the Government to investigate the treatment of a former SAS soldier.

Stephen Phillips, MP for Sleaford and North Hykeham, said "lessons plainly need to be learned" by the Government following the death of Martin Pratt, after battling with alcoholism.

Mr Phillips said the case showed civilian doctors knew very little about what to look for when facing veterans who could be suffering from PTSD long after they had retired from the military.

It was now up to civil servants at the Ministry of Defence and Department of Health to start working together to better diagnose and treat the mental illness.

In a question to defence minister Andrew Robathan, he said that Mr Pratt's experiences with the SAS were "sufficiently traumatic that long after he left the army, he suffered from severe post-traumatic stress disorder which ultimately led to alcoholism and the death of a much-loved husband, father and grandfather".

Mr Phillips added: "Now it seems clear that there is little understanding in the civilian medical community of patients like this, of later-life PTSD in military personnel and very little joined-up thinking between agencies responsible for the care of veterans.

"I hope you can assure Martin's family and the whole House that you will look in to this case in detail with your colleagues at the Department of Health so that the lessons which plainly need to be learned, are learned."

Mr Robathan said there was a joint initiative between the MoD and the Department of Health to deal with the problem.

The Government was also taking forward the recommendations of a report by Tory MP Andrew Murrison, which has come up with a range of measures to help those suffering from mental health problems as a result of serving in conflicts.

"We are very concerned about this," Mr Robathan added.