A SPECIALIST service which supports military forces personnel who suffer with mental health problems is set to remain in Basingstoke.

Southern Health has been awarded the contract to provide inpatient mental health services for serving Ministry of Defence (MoD) personnel from the south of England which will be run out of Parklands Hospital in Rooksdown.

The specialist services comprise a six-bedded ward at the hospital, treating around 85 Army, Navy and Air Force personnel every year.

Manned by a dedicated medical team including a consultant psychiatrist, lead nurse, psychologist and junior doctor, the service treats a range of conditions from post-traumatic stress disorder, adjustment disorder and panic disorder to schizophrenia, depressive conditions and bi-polar.

Consultant psychiatrist Dr Susie Carman said: “There are cultural, occupational and clinical differences between serving personnel and members of the general public who may experience a mental health crisis.

“With more than 10 years’ experience providing this service, we are able to use our knowledge to create a really high-quality package of care for our servicemen and women who find themselves at such a vulnerable stage in their lives.”

The contract – which will extend Southern Health’s relationship with the MoD to 15 years – is worth more than £500,000 per year and comes after a successful recent visit and environmental inspection conducted by the MoD at Parklands.

It is also the third consecutive time an NHS organisation has been awarded the contract.

Dr Carman added: “At the end of their visit, the MoD fed back that the service we provide and the clinical team were ‘exceptional’.

“The lead inspector also said he would be very happy for his family and friends to receive care with us.

“As a team we are immensely proud to have been award the contract for the third time in a row and we are passionate about continuing to provide the best possible care for such an important group of people.”

As well as awarding Parklands Hospital the contract for the work, for the first time the MoD has also commissioned some psychology provision from Southern Health for its community services programmes for forces personnel.