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Isherwood: Assembly Government must show support for troops

Speech to the National Assembly for Wales.

"The Royal British Legion provides financial, social and emotional support to millions who have served or who are currently serving in the armed forces, and to their dependants. It fights on issues including Gulf-war-related illnesses, war pensions and noise-induced hearing loss.

It will continue to press for change as long as the needs of veterans and their dependants remain unrecognised, hence the legion's official launch of the Honour the Covenant campaign in London last September and in Wales at an event held in the National Assembly on 16 October.

Since the early nineteenth century, men and women have served and fought for their country under the terms of the military covenant, which states that:

'Soldiers will be called upon to make personal sacrifices—including the ultimate sacrifice—in the service of the nation…In return, British soldiers must always be able to expect fair treatment, to be valued and respected as individuals, and they (and their families) will be sustained and rewarded by commensurate terms and conditions of service'.

The legion has now said that it is time to honour that covenant and is calling for a just compensation scheme that recognises the commitment and sacrifices made when serving the country, a greater commitment to supporting the physical and mental health of service people and their families, and far more support for bereaved service families.

The Minister for Veterans at the Ministry of Defence, Derek Twigg MP, has welcomed the legion's Honour the Covenant campaign, stating that the Government has been quick to identify issues of actual or potential concern and to address them.

Following a meeting with the legion's national chairman, Peter Cleminson, and director general, Chris Simpkins, the Prime Minister expressed his appreciation to the legion for all its vital work. The legion's director general said, however, that they made it clear that much more needs to be done, particularly as the nature of the legion's casework is changing. This is evidenced by a 30 per cent increase in its clients below the age of 35 in the last 12 months.

They also told Mr Brown that, since the launch of the Honour the Covenant campaign, they have seen significant evidence that the nation expects the lifelong duty of care to service personnel to be honoured.

Within days of taking over as head of the British army in August 2006, General Sir Richard Dannatt returned from a trip to Afghanistan and asked whether £1,150 take-home pay for a month's fighting in Helmand province was sufficient.

A newspaper campaign followed, resulting in the Government announcement of a tax-free bonus of £2,240 for troops serving in war zones. Sir Richard talked of the military covenant between a nation and its armed forces, telling the Secretary of State for Defence that the army would not let the nation down, but that he did not want the nation to let the army down. He stated that the abuse of a wounded soldier in Selly Oak Hospital, Birmingham, by an anti-war civilian showed a breakdown of the covenant. He added that:

'Iraq may be an unpopular war now and Afghanistan may be a misunderstood war, but the soldiers, sailors and airmen who are conducting these operations are doing their duty to their best ability…I hope the British people never forget that our soldiers are doing what the Government requires them to do.

It should get out how difficult it has been, how dangerous, how tragic at times, and that they have done well. The treatment of soldiers in civilian wards shows society's lack of understanding of the needs of our troops. It is not acceptable for our casualties to be in mixed wards with civilians…people need the privacy of recovering in a military environment'.

He added that a soldier who is injured and loses consciousness wants to wake up to familiar sights and sounds and wants to see people in uniform. Instead, we exacerbate the culture shock.

Sir Richard referred to the abused soldier in Selly Oak Hospital, but there are countless other examples of the broken covenant. Soldiers who suffered appalling injuries in Iraq and Afghanistan were verbally abused as they swam in a public swimming pool during a weekly rehabilitation class. As Patrick Mercer MP, himself a former military commander, stated:

'It may well be that these people had paid for the use of the pool, but our soldiers have paid so much more for their country'.

Too many former service personnel have had to battle with the War Pensions Agency for pensions that they had assumed would be approved without hesitation. That has been the case under successive Governments; I am not being party-political in saying that.

One example is Richie Turnbull, an RAF ground electrician in the first Gulf war. On arriving in the Gulf, he received 14 injections in 10 minutes and became ill immediately. Two members of his team had to be hospitalised. Despite feeling unwell, he pressed on with his job. On his return from the Gulf, his health continued to deteriorate.

He had no choice but to leave the services. Struggling to make ends meet, he approached the War Pensions Agency in 1995, but it awarded him less than 20 per cent of the full war pension entitlement. He was determined not to give up and the legion represented him. After a number of lengthy appeals, the legion managed to get his war pension increased to 90 per cent.

However, like so many veterans, driven by pride and an unwavering belief in what is right, he stated that he would not rest until he received the full war pension. He also said that he:

'would urge other veterans of all eras who are experiencing difficulties to approach the Legion for their help. There, your case will be treated in strictest confidence, you will receive the most professional advice and you will be treated with respect and courtesy all through your claim, regardless of your former rank'.

Take Eifion, from Llanfairfechan, who served in the Royal Engineers from 1980 to 1989, and saw action in Northern Ireland. Eifion developed post traumatic stress disorder 20 years later. This was only picked up after he attempted suicide.

He was told that he would have to wait two years to see a psychiatrist and only received treatment after he wrote to his Member of Parliament to complain. He knew that he was entitled to priority treatment, but, unfortunately, his hospital did not. He lost his work, house and social life and his relationship with his family. Again, the legion represented him at his war pension tribunal.

Last Sunday, I was the guest speaker at the Royal British Legion north Wales district annual conference. We heard of the growing problems of debt and substance misuse among younger people returning from action now. We heard that the Government has announced that veterans will be given housing priority, but that councils were not hearing this.

We heard that the UK Government has announced the expansion of NHS priority treatment to all veterans whose injuries or ill health was suspected of being due to their service. However, over three quarters of war pensioners who sought NHS treatment said that they were not given priority.

Further, that priority treatment excludes Wales, but an Assembly Government announcement is awaited. A motion, to go to the UK Government, was passed in support of a medal for service in Afghanistan. Assembly Government support and intervention is needed in all of these areas, as it is with the problem of post traumatic stress disorder.

The legion's Honour the Covenant campaign refers to current work by the King's Centre for Military Health Research, which has identified an increase in psychological problems, ranging from PTSD to alcohol misuse, among personnel who have been deployed for 13 months or more in a three-year period.

It also notes that veterans who are not assisted by Combat Stress, which is supported by the Ministry of Defence, or another specialist organisation, need to be able to access mental health care and receive priority treatment. As someone who campaigned on behalf of the traumatised ex-forces personnel who had come to rely on the Ty Gwyn Ex-Service Treatment Unit in Llandudno, I am delighted to see this.

Ty Gwyn was the only independent respite and treatment centre in the UK for traumatised ex-forces personnel. These were the people whose complex needs had not been met by the NHS or Combat Stress. These also made up the most vulnerable group, whose symptomatic addictive and disruptive behaviour too often led to domestic abuse, homelessness, criminal conviction and suicide.

When I visited Ty Gwyn, I met a group of veterans aged from their early 20s to their 80s, who had served in engagements spanning rearguard action at Dunkirk through to the second Gulf war. Initial bravado was followed by tears as they told me their stories. It was one of the most moving moments of my life. Despite our campaign, Ty Gwyn was closed in late 2005.

My pleas to Government in London and Cardiff fell on deaf ears. Although almost all of the Ty Gwyn lads had been through Combat Stress, their complex needs had not been met within the limited provision contracted for by the MOD, and yet the repeated and only Government response that I received was that they should approach Combat Stress. They instead set up self-help groups, began a campaign for a new centre in north Wales and kept in regular contact with me.

I was the only politician to be invited to a meeting in Derby last October organised by Help Me Overcome, to discuss the way ahead for PTSD treatment. Help Me Overcome has developed a new therapy model based on global best practice and initial trials have been encouraging. As it stateds in its submission to the Defence Select Committee:

'Programmes for dealing with PTSD...should be willing to adopt new and innovative solutions and techniques. It is essential to break free from outdated thinking and ineffective programmes...All programmes must be outcome focused with clear, measurable cost-effectiveness built into them'.

Combat Stress has reported a 30 per cent rise to almost 900 referrals over the last year alone and has stated that the demands placed upon its services are far outstripping its ability to meet them. This month, Government funding for Combat Stress has been increased by 45 per cent, but only from a base of £2.5 million.

Combat Stress is reviewing how it treats veterans, where, as the Surgeon General has stated, it has previously been a kind of respite home rather than a treatment centre. It has appointed a medical director, which it did not have before, but evidence to the Defence Committee indicates little comprehension of the true situation.

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a much larger problem than anyone cares to admit and has had a proportionately greater impact on north Wales because of the Sir Galahad incident and the closure of Ty Gwyn. A centre of excellence for PTSD in north Wales would show the way forward for the rest of the UK.

When I raised this issue with the First Minister, he referred to a two-year pilot project in Cardiff as one of six pilots launched by the UK's Minister for Veterans. I am advised that even assuming the pilots are successful, there will be no national roll-out for around five years. Furthermore, there is no way of quantifying how many of the 4.8 million UK veterans will qualify for priority treatment.

The Government is not facing the need for radical innovation. The option proposed for north Wales comprises a full treatment and rehabilitation programme, which has an evidence-based success rate of 80 per cent recovery. I therefore urge the Assembly Government not to ignore the urgent needs of these wounded people again.

Last October, the UK Government admitted that the number of military inquests outstanding had hit an unprecedented high of 126, imposing an unacceptable burden on forces' families. Ministers must deliver on their promises to get this sorted and the Assembly Government must do everything within its powers to assist on this and all the other issues raised today by me and, more broadly, by the Honour the Covenant campaign."

"Mae'r Lleng Brydeinig Frenhinol yn darparu cefnogaeth ariannol, gymdeithasol ac emosiynol i filiynau sydd wedi gwasanaethu neu sy'n gwasanaethu ar hyn o bryd yn y lluoedd arfog, ac i'w dibynyddion. Mae'n ymgyrchu ar faterion gan gynnwys afiechydon sy'n gysylltiedig â rhyfel y Gwlff, pensiynau rhyfel a nam ar y clyw sydd wedi'i achosi gan swn.

Bydd yn dal i bwyso dros newid cyhyd ag y bydd anghenion cyn-filwyr a'u dibynyddion heb eu cydnabod, ac oherwydd hynny y lansiodd y lleng yr ymgyrch Anrhydeddu'r Cyfamod yn swyddogol yn Llundain fis Medi diwethaf ac yng Nghymru mewn digwyddiad a gynhaliwyd yn y Cynulliad Cenedlaethol ar 16 Hydref.

Ers dechrau'r bedwaredd ganrif ar bymtheg, bu dynion a menywod yn gwasanaethu ac yn ymladd dros eu gwlad dan delerau'r cyfamod milwrol, sy'n datgan:

Gelwir ar filwyr i wneud aberth personol—gan gynnwys yr aberth eithaf—er gwasanaethu'r genedl...Yn gyfnewid am hynny, rhaid i filwyr Prydain bob amser allu disgwyl cael triniaeth deg, cael eu parchu a'u gwerthfawrogi fel unigolion, a disgwyl y byddant hwy (a'u teuluoedd) yn cael eu cynnal a'u gwobrwyo drwy delerau ac amodau gwasanaeth cymesur.

Mae'r lleng wedi dweud bellach ei bod yn bryd anrhydeddu'r cyfamod hwnnw ac mae'n galw am gynllun iawndal cyfiawn sy'n cydnabod yr ymrwymiad a'r ebyrth a wnaethpwyd wrth wasanaethu'r wlad, mwy o ymrwymiad i hybu iechyd corfforol a meddyliol milwyr a'u teuluoedd, a mwy o lawer o gefnogaeth i deuluoedd milwyr ymadawedig.

Mae'r Gweinidog dros Gyn-filwyr yn y Weinyddiaeth Amddiffyn, Derek Twigg AS, wedi croesawu ymgyrch y lleng dros Anrhydeddu'r Cyfamod, gan ddweud bod y Llywodraeth wedi cymryd camau buan i ganfod materion sy'n achosi pryder neu a allai achosi pryder, ac i roi sylw iddynt.

Yn dilyn cyfarfod gyda chadeirydd cenedlaethol y lleng, Peter Cleminson, a'r cyfarwyddwr cyffredinol, Chris Simpkins, mynegodd y Prif Weinidog ei werthfawrogiad i'r lleng am yr holl waith hanfodol y mae'n ei wneud. Dywedodd cyfarwyddwr cyffredinol y lleng, fodd bynnag, eu bod wedi egluro bod angen gwneud llawer mwy, yn enwedig gan fod natur gwaith achosion y lleng yn newid. Gwelir hynny yn y cynnydd o 30 y cant yn nifer ei chleientiaid sydd dan 35 oed yn y 12 mis diwethaf.

Dywedasant hefyd wrth Mr Brown eu bod wedi gweld digon o dystiolaeth, ers lansio ymgyrch Anrhydeddu'r Cyfamod, fod y genedl yn disgwyl gweld cyflawni'r ddyletswydd gofal gydol oes tuag at filwyr.

O fewn dyddiau ar ôl cymryd yr awenau fel pennaeth byddin Prydain yn Awst 2006, dychwelodd y Cadfridog Syr Richard Dannatt ar ôl taith i Afghanistan a gofyn a oedd £1,150 o gyflog clir am fis o ymladd yn nhalaith Helmand yn ddigon.

Bu ymgyrch gan bapur newydd wedyn ac, o ganlyniad i hynny, gwnaeth y Llywodraeth gyhoeddiad am fonws di-dreth o £2,240 i filwyr sy'n gwasanaethu mewn ardaloedd brwydro.

Soniodd Syr Richard am y cyfamod milwrol rhwng y genedl a'i lluoedd arfog, gan ddweud wrth yr Ysgrifennydd Gwladol dros Amddiffyn na fyddai'r fyddin yn gwneud cam â'r genedl, ond nad oedd am i'r genedl wneud cam â'r fyddin. Dywedodd fod y gamdriniaeth a gafodd milwr clwyfedig yn Ysbyty Selly Oak, Birmingham, gan sifiliad a oedd yn erbyn rhyfel yn dangos bod y cyfamod wedi'i dorri. Ychwanegodd:

Efallai fod rhyfel Irac yn un amhoblogaidd yn awr ac efallai fod y rhyfel yn Afghanistan yn un nas deellir, ond mae'r milwyr, y morwyr a'r awyrenwyr sy'n ymgymryd â'r ymgyrchoedd hyn yn cyflawni eu dyletswydd hyd eithaf eu gallu…Gobeithiaf na fydd pobl Prydain byth yn anghofio bod ein milwyr yn gwneud yr hyn y mae'r Llywodraeth yn mynnu iddynt ei wneud. Dylid cael gwybod pa mor anodd y bu hynny, pa mor beryglus, pa mor drist ar brydiau, a'u bod wedi gwneud yn dda.

Mae'r ffaith bod milwyr yn cael eu trin mewn wardiau i sifiliaid yn dangos diffyg dealltwriaeth ar ran cymdeithas o anghenion ein milwyr. Nid yw'n dderbyniol i'n clwyfedigion fod mewn wardiau cymysg gyda sifiliaid…mae ar bobl angen preifatrwydd drwy wella mewn amgylchedd milwrol.

Ychwanegodd fod milwr sydd wedi'i glwyfo ac sy'n mynd yn anymwybodol yn dymuno deffro a gweld a chlywed pethau cyfarwydd ac yn dymuno gweld pobl mewn gwisg filwrol. Yn lle hynny, yr ydym yn dwysáu'r ysgytwad oherwydd y newid byd.

Cyfeiriodd Syr Richard at y milwr a oedd wedi'i gam-drin yn Ysbyty Selly Oak, ond mae enghreifftiau eraill di-rif o dorri'r cyfamod. Yr oedd milwyr a gafodd anafiadau ofnadwy yn Irac ac Afghanistan wedi'u cam-drin yn eiriol wrth iddynt nofio mewn pwll nofio cyhoeddus yn ystod dosbarth adsefydlu wythnosol. Fel y dywedodd Patrick Mercer AS, ac yntau'n gyn-gadlywydd:

Mae'n ddigon posibl bod y bobl hyn wedi talu i ddefnyddio'r pwll, ond mae ein milwyr wedi talu cymaint mwy dros eu gwlad.

Mae gormod o gyn-filwyr wedi gorfod ymladd yn erbyn yr Asiantaeth Pensiynau Rhyfel i gael pensiynau yr oeddent wedi cymryd y byddent yn cael eu cymeradwyo heb betruso. Felly y bu dan y naill Lywodraeth ar ôl y llall; nid wyf yn gwneud pwynt pleidiol gwleidyddol wrth ddweud hynny.

Un enghraifft yw Richie Turnbull, un a fu'n drydanwr ar y ddaear yn rhyfel cyntaf y Gwlff. Ar ôl cyrraedd y Gwlff, cafodd 14 o chwistrelliadau mewn 10 munud ac aeth yn sâl ar unwaith. Bu'n rhaid mynd â dau aelod o'i dîm i ysbyty. Er ei fod yn teimlo'n sâl, bwriodd ymlaen â'i waith. Wedi iddo ddychwelyd o'r Gwlff, daliodd ei iechyd i ddirywio.

Nid oedd ganddo ddewis ond gadael y lluoedd arfog. Ac yntau'n ei chael yn anodd cael deupen llinyn ynghyd, cysylltodd â'r Asiantaeth Pensiynau Rhyfel yn 1995, ond rhoddodd iddo lai nag 20 y cant o'r pensiwn rhyfel llawn sydd ar gael. Yr oedd yn benderfynol o beidio ag ildio ac fe'i cynrychiolwyd gan y lleng. Ar ôl nifer o apeliadau hirfaith, llwyddodd y lleng i godi ei bensiwn rhyfel i 90 y cant.

Fodd bynnag, fel cynifer o gyn-filwyr, a hwythau wedi'u hysgogi gan falchder a chred ddiysgog yn yr hyn sy'n iawn, dywedodd na roddai'r gorau iddi nes cael y pensiwn rhyfel llawn. Dywedodd hefyd y byddai'n:

annog cyn-filwyr eraill o bob cyfnod sy'n profi anawsterau i gysylltu â'r Lleng i gael cymorth ganddi. Yno, caiff eich achos ei drin yn gwbl gyfrinachol, cewch y cyngor mwyaf proffesiynol a chewch eich trin gyda pharch a chwrteisi drwy gyfnod eich hawliad, beth bynnag oedd eich rheng flaenorol.

Cymerwch Eifion, o Lanfairfechan, a wasanaethodd yn y Royal Engineers rhwng 1980 a 1989, a gweld brwydro yng Ngogledd Iwerddon. Cafodd Eifion anhwylder straen wedi trawma 20 mlynedd yn ddiweddarach. Dim ond wedi iddo geisio'i ladd ei hun y sylwyd ar hynny.

Dywedwyd wrtho y byddai'n rhaid iddo ddisgwyl dwy flynedd cyn gweld seiciatrydd a dim ond wedi iddo ysgrifennu at ei Aelod Seneddol i gwyno y cafodd driniaeth. Gwyddai fod ganddo hawl i gael triniaeth flaenoriaethol, ond, gwaetha'r modd, nid oedd yr ysbyty yr aeth iddo'n gwybod hynny. Collodd ei waith, ei dy a'i fywyd cymdeithasol a'i berthynas â'i deulu. Unwaith eto, fe'i cynrychiolwyd gan y lleng yn y tribiwnlys pensiynau rhyfel.

Ddydd Sul diwethaf, bûm yn siaradwr gwadd yng nghynhadledd flynyddol rhanbarth gogledd Cymru o'r Lleng Brydeinig Frenhinol. Clywsom am y problemau cynyddol o ran dyled a chamddefnyddio sylweddau ymysg pobl iau sy'n dychwelyd o'r brwydro'n awr.

Clywsom fod y Llywodraeth wedi cyhoeddi y bydd cyn-filwyr yn cael blaenoriaeth ar gyfer tai, ond nad oedd cynghorau'n clywed hyn. Clywsom fod Llywodraeth y DU wedi cyhoeddi y bydd triniaeth flaenoriaethol y GIG yn cael ei hymestyn i gynnwys yr holl gyn-filwyr yr amheuwyd bod eu hanafiadau neu eu hafiechyd yn ganlyniad i'w gwasanaeth. Er hynny, dywedodd mwy na thri chwarter o'r pensiynwyr rhyfel a geisiodd driniaeth gan y GIG na chawsant flaenoriaeth.

Ar ben hynny, nid yw'r driniaeth flaenoriaethol honno'n cynnwys Cymru, ond disgwylir cyhoeddiad gan Lywodraeth y Cynulliad. Derbyniwyd cynnig, i fynd at Lywodraeth y DU, o blaid cael medal am wasanaethu yn Afghanistan. Mae angen cefnogaeth ac ymyrraeth gan Lywodraeth y Cynulliad yn yr holl feysydd hyn, yn yr un modd â phroblem anhwylder straen wedi trawma.

Mae ymgyrch y lleng dros Anrhydeddu'r Cyfamod yn cyfeirio at waith sy'n cael ei wneud ar hyn o bryd gan Ganolfan y Brenin ar gyfer Ymchwil Iechyd Filwrol, sydd wedi canfod bod problemau seicolegol ar gynnydd, a'r rheiny'n amrywio o anhwylder straen wedi trawma i gamddefnyddio alcohol, ymysg personél a fu mewn lleoliad am 13 mis neu fwy mewn cyfnod o dair blynedd.

Mae'n nodi hefyd fod angen i gyn-filwyr na chânt gymorth gan Combat Stress, a noddir gan y Weinyddiaeth Amddiffyn, neu gan gorff arbenigol arall, allu cael mynediad at ofal iechyd meddwl a chael triniaeth flaenoriaethol. Fel un a ymgyrchodd ar ran cyn-filwyr trawmateiddiedig a oedd wedi dod i ddibynnu ar Uned Driniaeth Cyn-filwyr Ty Gwyn yn Llandudno, yr wyf yn falch iawn o weld hyn.

Ty Gwyn oedd yr unig ganolfan seibiant a thriniaeth yn y DU i gyn-filwyr trawmateiddiedig. Y rhain oedd y bobl yr oedd eu hanghenion cymhleth heb gael eu diwallu gan y GIG neu Combat Stress. Y rhain hefyd oedd y grwp mwyaf agored i niwed, yr oedd eu hymddygiad caethiwus ac aflonyddol symptomatig wedi arwain yn rhy aml at gam-drin yn y cartref, at ddigartrefedd, at euogfarnau am droseddu ac at hunanladdiad. Pan ymwelais â Thy Gwyn, cyfarfûm â grwp o gyn-filwyr a'u hoedran yn cwmpasu'r ugeiniau cynnar a'r pedwar ugeiniau, a oedd wedi ymladd mewn brwydrau a oedd yn cynnwys ymladd i gadw'r cefn yn Dunkirk hyd at ail ryfel y Gwlff.

Wedi'r ymffrost gwag ar y dechrau daeth y dagrau wrth iddynt adrodd eu hanes i mi. Yr oedd yn un o'r achlysuron mwyaf emosiynol yn fy mywyd. Er gwaethaf ein hymgyrch, caewyd Ty Gwyn ddiwedd 2005.

Syrthiodd fy apeliadau i'r Llywodraeth yn Llundain ac yng Nghaerdydd ar glustiau byddar. Er bod bron bob un o fechgyn Ty Gwyn wedi cael eu trin gan Combat Stress, nid oedd eu hanghenion cymhleth wedi'u diwallu o fewn y ddarpariaeth gyfyngedig yr oedd y Weinyddiaeth Amddiffyn wedi gwneud contract ar ei chyfer, ac eto yr unig ymateb a gefais gan Lywodraeth dro ar ôl tro oedd y dylent gysylltu â Combat Stress. Yn lle hynny, sefydlasant grwpiau hunangymorth, dechreuasant ymgyrchu dros gael canolfan newydd yn y gogledd a chadwasant mewn cysylltiad rheolaidd â mi.

Myfi oedd yr unig wleidydd a wahoddwyd i gyfarfod yn Derby fis Hydref diwethaf a drefnwyd gan Help Me Overcome, i drafod y ffordd ymlaen i driniaeth ar gyfer anhwylder straen wedi trawma. Mae Help Me Overcome wedi datblygu model therapi newydd sy'n seiliedig ar yr arferion gorau a geir ledled y byd a bu'r treialon cychwynnol yn galonogol. Fel y dywedodd yn ei gyflwyniad i'r Pwyllgor Dethol ar Amddiffyn:

Dylai rhaglenni ar gyfer delio ag anhwylder straen wedi trawma fod yn barod i fabwysiadu atebion a thechnegau newydd ac arloesol. Mae'n hollbwysig torri'n rhydd oddi wrth syniadau hen ffasiwn a rhaglenni aneffeithiol...Rhaid i'r holl raglenni ganolbwyntio ar ganlyniadau a bod â chost-effeithiolrwydd mesuradwy a chlir yn rhan ohonynt.

Mae Combat Stress wedi datgan bod nifer yr atgyfeiriadau wedi codi 30 y cant i bron 900 dros y flwyddyn ddiwethaf yn unig ac mae wedi dweud bod y galwadau am ei wasanaethau'n fwy o lawer na'i allu i'w hateb. Y mis yma, mae cyllid y Llywodraeth i Combat Stress wedi codi 45 y cant, ond hynny o linell sylfaen o ddim ond £2.5 miliwn.

Mae Combat Stress yn adolygu'r modd y mae'n trin hen filwyr, lle gynt, fel y dywedodd y Llawfeddyg Cyffredinol, bu'n fath o gartref seibiant yn hytrach na chanolfan driniaeth. Maent wedi penodi cyfarwyddwr meddygol, rhywbeth nad oedd ganddynt o'r blaen, ond yn ôl y dystiolaeth i'r Pwyllgor Amddiffyn nid oes fawr o ddealltwriaeth o'r wir sefyllfa.

Mae anhwylder straen ôl-drawmatig yn broblem lawer mwy nag yr hoffai neb gyfaddef a chaiff effaith gyfrannol fwy ar ogledd Cymru oherwydd digwyddiad y Sir Galahad a chau Ty Gwyn. Byddai canolfan ragoriaeth ar gyfer PTSD yn y gogledd yn dangos y ffordd ymlaen i weddill y Deyrnas Unedig.

Pan godais y mater hwn gyda'r Prif Weinidog, cyfeiriodd at brosiect peilot dwy flynedd yng Nghaerdydd fel un o chwe chynllun peilot a lansiwyd gan Weinidog y Deyrnas Unedig dros Hen Filwyr. Dywedir wrthyf hyd yn oed os bydd y cynlluniau peilot yn llwyddiannus, na chânt eu lledaenu i weddill y wlad am ryw bum mlynedd.

Ar ben hynny, nid oes unrhyw fodd o fesur sawl un o'r 4.8 miliwn o hen filwyr yn y Deyrnas Unedig a fydd yn gymwys i gael triniaeth flaenoriaethol. Nid yw'r Llywodraeth yn wynebu'r angen am arloesi radical. Mae'r opsiwn a gynigir ar gyfer y gogledd yn cynnwys rhaglen driniaeth ac adfer lawn, sydd, yn ôl y dystiolaeth, yn llwyddiannus gydag 80 y cant o achosion. Felly, anogaf Lywodraeth y Cynulliad i beidio ag anwybyddu anghenion taer y bobl glwyfedig hyn eto.

Fis Hydref diwethaf, cyfaddefodd Llywodraeth y Deyrnas Unedig fod nifer y cwestau milwrol a oedd yn aros i'w cynnal wedi cyrraedd 126, y nifer uchaf erioed, gan osod baich annerbyniol ar deuluoedd y lluoedd arfog.

Rhaid i Weinidogion gadw'u haddewidion i ddatrys hyn a rhaid i Lywodraeth y Cynulliad wneud popeth o fewn ei gallu i helpu gyda hyn a'r holl faterion eraill a godwyd heddiw gennyf fi, ond yn fwy cyffredinol, gan yr ymgyrch Anrhydeddu'r Cyfamod."

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