The Service Patient scheme in Ireland
in Shell-shocked British Army veterans in Ireland, 1918–39
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Insane ex-servicemen admitted into a district asylum were officially designated as ‘Service Patients’. They were treated akin to private patients with the Ministry of Pensions providing the necessary finance. This chapter examines the experiences of insane Great War veterans under treatment in the post-war Irish district lunatic asylum. Legislation and public perception of the mentally ill remaining relatively conservative throughout the inter-war period. Like the vast majority of civilian patients, many Service Patients remained in the asylum long term where containment, rather than cure, remained the primary concern of the care provided. Modifications to the Service Patient scheme occurred in Britain in the mid-1920s. Due to public and political pressure, all insane Great War veterans were incorporated into the system regardless of whether their insanity had been judged attributable to their former war service. Crucially, however, this policy was not extended to Ireland due to the comparative lack of societal concern and political lobbying. Ireland’s experience does not reflect the British experience of neuroses. This chapter magnifies how lobbying, public relations and financial interests shaped Ministry policy and its rehabilitation of disabled Great War veterans.

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