Document 3:9 (2013–2014) The Office of the Auditor General's investigation of the safeguarding of veterans from international operations was submitted to the Storting (Norwegian parliament) on 12 June 2014.
The investigation shows that there is considerable strain on Armed Forces personnel. Among personnel with more than one deployment period abroad, there is considerable lack of compliance with the standard for time spent at home between operational periods. Neither the Ministry of Defence nor the management of the Armed Forces have obtained management information that may be used to determine whether the Armed Forces comply with the provisions regarding time spent at home and the risk of health strains on the personnel.
- Due to insufficient time at homet participation in international operations may have adverse consequences for individuals afterwards, says the auditor general.
During the period 2010−2013, ten per cent of the veterans entitled to necessary mental health care had not been followed up by the stipulated deadline. There is also considerable variation between the community mental health centres (DPS) both as regards the length of the waiting period and the percentage that is granted the right to prioritised health care. Because of these differences, veterans have variable access to treatment in the public health service.
The investigation also revealed considerable weaknesses associated with the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV)’s follow-up of veterans who are outside the workforce. The findings include examples of long-term unemployed young veterans who do not receive the necessary follow-up from NAV for long periods of time.
- There is a need for closer follow-up to ensure that more veterans can return to the workforce, says Foss.
Veterans who have suffered mental injuries may apply for compensation. The audit has revealed that the processing of some compensation cases at the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund (SPK) takes a long time. The SPK will review its work processes based on the findings of the Office of the Auditor General.
Competence regarding veterans has not been made sufficiently available to all sections of the public support services. Community mental health centres, for example, are not very familiar with the regional resource networks with special competence regarding veterans.
- The Ministry of Defence and other relevant ministries should strengthen information and training measures which will help case processors and healthcare professional benefit from the knowledge available from the various agencies, Foss concludes.
Follow-up by the Ministry
The Minister states that the assessments of the Office of the Auditor General are largely in line with her own experiences. The Ministry of Defence and the Armed Forces will follow up the comments of the Office of the Auditor General partly through measures presented in the follow-up "In Service for Norway" (2014−2017) plan.
Read the summary of the investigation through the link to the right.