The NHS Long Term Plan states:
We will expand our support for all veterans and their families as they transition out of the armed forces, regardless of when people left the services. To ensure all GPs in England are equipped to best serve our veterans and their families, over the next five years we will roll out a veterans accreditation scheme in conjunction with the Royal College of GPs.
The responsibility for the healthcare of the 2.4 million veterans in the UK belongs with the NHS. Members of the ex-forces community should be encouraged to register with an NHS GP and tell them that they have served. But it’s also crucial for those practices to understand what to do with that information and how recording forces people assists their ongoing healthcare.
Across Lancashire, Armed Forces Champions, local authorities, charities, and in some cases, individuals are all supporting veterans with their health needs and also engaging with various parts of the NHS to improve understanding of their obligation to veterans under the Armed Forces Covenant.
Recent service leavers should give their F MED 133, Medical History on Release from HM Forces to the practice they register with. To help remind them to do so you can use this desk sign: Desk Sign Partners
Requesting further medical information
If the GP requires more medical information to assist the patient with their ongoing care and treatment they can request it from the single service departments below, using the form Requesting DMS Health Records.
Royal Navy/Royal Marines
RN Service Leavers
Institute of Naval Medicine
Secretariat Disclosure 3 (Medical)
Mail Point 525
Army Personnel Centre
65 Brown Street
Royal Air Force
Registering armed forces patients
The NHS uses “read codes” to register or flag patients on their various data systems. The leaflet Veterans and GP Practices – A guide for GP staff, details the read codes used for different members of the armed forces community. Please note this includes those currently serving, Reservists, family members and veterans. Being flagged as a veteran in NHS medical notes will help to ensure that veterans are able to access dedicated services for those who have served in the UK armed forces. These include services for mental health and physical health conditions. Find out more about the range of dedicated health services for ex-forces (PDF, 278kb).
Becoming a veteran friendly practice - Veterans accreditation scheme
There is a national scheme created by the Royal College of General Practitioners called the Armed Forces Veteran friendly accreditation. By gaining accreditation practices increase their awareness of the needs within the armed forces community and take action to meet those needs by improving the way they engage with veterans and offer services to them.
There is an expectation for every practice on the Fylde Coast to adopt this scheme. The documents below should help
There is no exact criteria to achieve veteran friendly status but GP practices should make efforts to engage with the armed forces community in their patient group. Before practices put a poster up to say they are veteran friendly they should have undertaken some tangible actions to demonstrate their support. Below are a few examples of suitable activity.
- The Royal British Legion have created a helpful desktop sign which assists patients to say they have served and reception staff to ask and record someone’s veteran status. The sign is attached and when laminated folds easily to sit on a reception desk.
- Some surgeries have placed posters in the waiting areas advertising the Pennine Care, Military Veterans Service (MVS) which provides mental health services locally under the Veterans’ Mental Health Transition Intervention and Liaison Services (TILS).
- In Wyre members of the community are engaging with GP practices and writing to all the flagged veterans and inviting them to armed forces specific health and wellbeing activities. Whilst this activity does incur a cost for postage, its working very well and as a result has provided direct support to many forces people in that area.
If you are interested in being part of this scheme sign up for free to start the process.