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GP practices to become ‘veteran friendly’

GPs are signing up to become ‘veteran friendly’ under a new national scheme to improve medical care and treatment for former members of the armed services that has been backed by NHS England and the Royal College of GPs.

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.

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 scheme, called the Military Veteran Aware Accreditation, has now 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.

Dr Brookes said: “It made me reflect on a potential unmet need for our veterans. I could see how pivotal a GP practice could be at identifying ex-service personnel to help ensure they receive care and treatment that is considerate of their time in the armed forces. It is great to think that a conversation with a patient at a GP practice in the Dales could lead to a national project to improve veterans’ health.”

While healthcare for veterans is already prioritised, the NHS wants to improve the way in which veterans are registered at their GP practice, and support GPs and practice teams to ensure veterans are fully aware of the dedicated help available to them.

Read NHS - GP practices across the country to become ‘veteran friendly’