It is encouraging to read that an increasing number of GPs are signing up to become ‘veteran friendly’ under a national scheme launched last year to improve medical care and treatment for former members of the armed services.
The scheme, called the Military Veteran Aware Accreditation, has been adopted by NHS England and the Royal College of GPs as a nationwide initiative so that family doctors can better identify and treat veterans, ensuring they get access to dedicated care where appropriate.
Practices can qualify for veteran friendly status by offering extra support for ex-military personnel who may face additional challenges when they return to civilian life.
To become accredited, GP practices need to:
• have a lead for veterans’ issues within the surgery;
• identify and flag veterans on their computer system;
• undertake dedicated training and attend armed forces healthcare meetings;
• increase understanding of the health needs of veterans amongst both clinical and administrative staff.
Dr Mike Brookes, a North Yorkshire GP who served in Iraq, came up with the idea when a patient told him that he had specifically joined his practice to see someone who could understand his needs as a veteran.
The initiative has my full support and I look forward to it being adopted by GP practices throughout the country.