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Veteran Friendly GP Surgeries

What are Veteran Friendly GP Practices required to do?

GP surgeries that have gained accreditation as a Veteran Friendly GP Practice are expected to meet the following criteria.

  1. Ask patients registering with the surgery if they have ever served in the British Armed Forces.
  2. Code it on the GP computer system. We recommend writing it out rather than using Read codes as these vary according to which computer system is used. We recommend that the term ‘Military Veteran’ is used.
  3. Have a clinical lead on veterans in the surgery. This should ideally be a member of the medical team but could be anyone who can make referrals (for example nurse, nurse practitioner, paramedic, clinical pharmacist, physician associate, health and wellbeing coach etc). It’s worth remembering that it doesn’t have to be the clinical lead that fills in the application form.
  4. This clinical lead is asked to stay up-to-date with the latest training, knowledge and thinking, which is delivered online via email by the RCGP as part of the free programme. They should also be available to provide advice to colleagues, and to support veterans directly when needed.
  5. Eligible practices should have a CQC ‘good’ rating or higher.

Where appropriate, patients can be referred to dedicated NHS services, such as Op COURAGE: The Veterans Mental Health and Wellbeing Service and the Veterans Trauma Network.

Accredited practices ensure that the NHS is better able to meet the health commitments of the Armed Forces Covenant. This states that the armed forces community, including veterans, should face no disadvantage in accessing health services and should receive priority care for military attributable conditions, subject to clinical need.

The accreditation provides an opportunity to improve rapport with veteran patients by making them feel more involved and connected. Following accreditation, practices have reported an increased number of veterans registering at their practice and witnessed more veterans seeking help and engaging with GPs. Improved coding of veterans has also been cited as a benefit by accredited practices.

Information above provided by the Royal College of General Practitioners

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