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Anger grows over closure of Norwich war vets centre

PUBLISHED: 07:11 09 April 2010 | UPDATED: 09:31 02 July 2010

Richard Summers.

Richard Summers.

Sarah Brealey

A local doctor has hit out at their 'cavalier' treatment of veterans following the closure of a welfare office for veterans in Norwich.

A local doctor has hit out at their “cavalier” treatment of veterans following the closure of a welfare office for veterans in Norwich.

As reported in the Evening News last month, the Veterans Welfare Service office in the city has closed as part of a national reorganisation.

It was based at St Mary's House, in Duke Street, but veterans are now asked to telephone the regional office in Kidderminster.

The Service Personnel and Veterans Agency, which is run by the Ministry of Defence, says that the change only affects back office functions and people will still be able to have home visits from a local adviser if necessary.

But Nigel Legg, a GP and south Norfolk councillor, is concerned that the closure will affect the service to people who have fought for their country.

He has worked with the local office for years and saw war pensioners for medical assessments.

He said: “There was an arrangement whereby war pensioners or potential pensioners could call in casually for advice, but of course this can longer happen. So it is incorrect to say that nobody will be put out.

“There is now no opportunity for examining medical practitioners such as myself to liaise with the welfare office should problems arise.”

He added: “I just find it depressing that those people who have become incapacitated in some way serving their country can be treated in such a cavalier way.”

Dr Legg said that he had seen at least one veteran turn up at the office after it had closed and be turned away.

Richard Summers, 69, from Poringland, who receives a war pension after being electrocuted at RAF Marham in the 1950s, has also complained about the closure.

He has written to his MP, Richard Bacon, and to veterans' minister Kevan Jones, and says veterans are being failed.

Do you have a story for the Evening News? Call reporter Sarah Brealey on 01603 772485 or email sarah.brealey@archant.co.uk

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