World class care for veterans at Concord Hospital

Australia’s first comprehensive care centre offering free specialist physical and mental healthcare services for veterans has opened at Concord Hospital.

The National Centre for Veterans’ Healthcare will provide world class integrated care from a range of medical and allied health specialities, to former Australian Defence Force personnel.

There are about 60,000 Australian servicemen and women who have served over the last two decades in Rwanda, East Timor, Afghanistan, Iraq and the Solomon Islands.

Minister for Veterans John Sidoti said the Centre provides healthcare services for veterans struggling to transition to civilian life and has already received 15 referrals since opening.

“Our military personnel put their life on the line in service to this country, so it is incumbent on all of us to support them as best we can when they need our help,” Mr Sidoti said.

“I am very proud the NSW Government is leading the way in veterans’ health care with this centre, which will help our vets with their physical injuries and support their mental wellbeing.”

Major Andrew Lam served in the Solomon Islands, East Timor and Iraq and has Andrew has witnessed the struggles of many when they return from deployment.

“I required a period of adjustment with all my returns. I even had to leave home for a while because I couldn’t sleep as it was too quiet. I had to move closer to a freeway and welcomed the semi-trailers flying past my window.”

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the Centre aims to help veterans gain access to the specialists they need, who will develop treatment plans for their unique health challenges.

“Concord Hospital has provided support and care for Australia’s military and veteran community since it opened as a military hospital almost 80 years ago,” Mr Hazzard said.

“The teams here are well placed to coordinate drug health services, rehabilitation and pain management specialists and any other health service our veterans need, Mr Hazzard said.

Chair of the Centre, Colonel Professor Robert “Bob” Lusby AM, says it will be “one-stop-health shop” for ex-serving members of the Australian Defence Force and free of charge.

“Veterans have seen things and done things which are extraordinary. Some will need our extended levels of care, and it is our duty to help them,” Professor Lusby said.

The Centre will be housed in a purpose-built facility within the new Clinical Services Building due for completion at the end of 2021 - part of the $341 million Stage 1 redevelopment. A pilot service will operate out of an existing building at Concord Hospital in the interim.