VETERANS’ campaigners in Burnley are in advanced talks over establishing a national partnership to tackle post-traumatic stress disorder and related conditions among ex-soldiers.

The leaders of Veterans Association UK (VAUK), based in Springfield Road, are hopeful they can work with at least one other national organisation to provide better access to psychological services for former troops.

Chief executive Tony Hayes said that VAUK has already managed to secure assistance for 27 members who have been in contact with their office. And he is confident substantial progress can be made on the issue when he attends two Parliamentary meetings next month.

Mr Hayes said: “There are various proposals being discussed at the moment but we know that access to these services in certain parts of the country is nothing short of a disgrace.” The plans were formulated after VAUK was invited to the House of Lords, by Dame Tammi-Grey Thompson for a discussion on assisted suicide, which was attended by a number of peers, the mental health charity MIND and health colleges.

If the initiative gets off the ground following talks on June 11, Mr Hayes is also hopeful of involving former members of the emergency services, who may be suffering from similar issues.

Mr Hayes and his colleagues will also meet Housing Minister Kris Hopkins to discuss the association’s long-standing camp- aign to ensure priority housing for ex-military personnel and homeless veterans.

The talks have been secured amid concerns that previous legislation is not helping enough veterans into accommodation.

Last year VAUK’s refurbished Burnley HQ, home to a number of educational courses, was opened by Lord Shuttleworth and there is now a regional network of co-ordinators.