A DOCTOR who grew up in Droitwich has launched a scheme for more GP practices to become ‘veteran friendly’ to improve medical treatment and care for former servicemen and women.
The Military Veteran Aware Accreditation programme is the brainchild of Dr Mike Brookes who is the son of Droitwich councillor Bob Brookes and attended Kings School in Worcester.
The scheme has already been backed by NHS England and the Royal College of GPs (RCGP) and had a successful pilot scheme in the West Midlands where 90 GP practices have signed up.
The pilot was initiated by the Midlands’ RCGP faculty and the nationwide roll-out will be phased in.
It is hoped in the next few years every veteran will receive the best possible NHS care from their GP, regardless of where they live.
To become accredited GP practices need to offer extra support for ex-military personnel who may face additional challenges on their return to civilian life.
They 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.
Both clinical and administration staff will need to have an increased understanding of the veterans’ health needs.
Dr Brookes had the idea after speaking to a veteran patient at his surgery in North Yorkshire.
“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.
“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.”
While healthcare for veterans is already prioritised, the NHS wants to improve the way 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.
Mid Worcestershire MP Nigel Huddleston praised Dr Brookes for highlighting an issue of paramount importance to many veterans and their families.
“The support required after military service is often complex and we should be doing as much as possible to promote specialist veteran care amongst all healthcare professionals.”
All military personnel who serve the UK are heroes and deserve the support that comes with the incredible challenge they have willingly undertaken on behalf of their country.
He said he hoped Military Veteran Aware Accreditation would be taken up around the country.