We read with interest the article by Andrew Gilligan highlighting concerns about the provision of services to veterans. Those members of our community who have served for our country deserve our support and we whole heartedly agree that any services offered should be evidence based and routinely evaluated.
We are disappointed that some parts of Andrew Gilligan's article fail to recognise the evidence the Warrior Programme has generated and the continual evaluation which we are undertaking.
Since its establishment in 2007, Warrior Programme has worked with over 1000 individuals. The programme's purpose is clearly described as teaching techniques to improve performance and motivation and to overcome emotional problems. This is delivered through a 3 day training programme with 12 months structured support and signposting. It has never been Warrior's intention to claim to treat PTSD or any other psychological conditions.
From the inception of the Warrior Programme, we have evaluated all our programmes using recognised measures, feeding the results back into the programme to adjust accordingly. We sought funding to undertake a randomised controlled trial (RCT) (the most robust way to assess effectiveness). The RCT was undertaken by the University of Southampton and the data analysed and interpreted by King's College London.
The findings of the RCT in 2015 emphasised:
The RCT represented the 'gold standard' of assessing effectiveness
That the intervention did no harm
Participants reported short-term improvements across all measures, with some evidence of an effect at longer term follow-up.
The RCT report made three recommendations, all of which have been implemented. They were:
Regular top-up sessions to improve sustained impact
Longer follow-up with participants
Introduce additional practical measures to support day to day functioning
We have fully acknowledged the results of the RCT, amending our programme and follow up accordingly. With these new amendments in place, we are continuing to evaluate the programme to assess effectiveness and to ensure the programme meets participants' needs.
At the event to launch the results of our RCT, Professor Greenberg said "Importantly, the programme did no harm. Warrior should be proud that they have undertaken this RCT and we should encourage others to follow suit."
Commenting on the Sunday Times article of 18th September, Professor Greenberg (Professor of Defence Mental Health and Veterans Lead, Royal College of Psychiatrists) said:
"Warrior Programme should be congratulated for having put their intervention through a RCT. I would very much support Warrior's intention to subject an adjusted programme to further evaluation."
We agree that those working with veterans should deliver evidence based interventions and use robust methodology to evaluate their work. This will ensure that veterans have better outcomes something Warrior is proud to be part of.
Our LIBOR grant funded work was meticulously accounted for and the funding team received detailed progress reports. We delivered the project outcomes within budget and were complimented on the success of the project.
Warriors respond to Sunday Times
"I think it's a shambles that the Warrior Program have been reported on in a negative way so just a quick message from myself.
The Warrior Program has effected many people such as myself in such a positive way, it has helped me change my life and perception of it.
It has taught me ways to deal with the problems I received throughout my military service and channel it in the most effective way possible. The Warrior Programme has helped me get my identity back and has got me to where I am today, it allowed me to set a goal, to plan and then take those steps in order to achieve my goals. The Warrior Programme has helped me out of the ditch I was in from being a homeless veteran to now having a home, managing my health and working in an innovative and rewarding career."
Ex Royal Engineer
The Warrior Programme has made a significant difference to my life since attending the 3 day initial course in July 2016. Before the course I was starting to give up hope on finding and believing there was help out there for me, having tried various forms of nhs treatments and approaching other charities.
I came away from the course with skills to help when I was having a bad day, I now have a renewed strength and positivity to rebuild my life and set goals with a self confidence that I can achieve what I want to achieve.
Every month I have a lovely lady from the programme phone me up to see how I'm getting on and I'm looking forward to attending my first quarterly session at the end of September.
Warrior has helped me believe in myself again, and I cannot thank the team enough.
To read statement from Cobseo click here