Improvement of awareness and use of the ‘veteran status’ when registering new patients.
A veteran is someone who has served in the armed forces for at least one day. There are around 4.6 million veterans in the UK and about 27500 in the Sefton area. When servicemen and women leave the armed forces, the responsibility of their healthcare transfers from the military to the NHS.
Key health issues facing the veteran population relate to mental health problems such as depression and anxiety which may be linked to the difficulty in the transition to civilian life, marital problems, and loss of family and social support networks. Suicide risk is higher for younger veterans especially in the first 2 years after leaving service, with other problems relating substance and alcohol misuse and musculoskeletal disorders for some veterans.
Stigma plays a key role in the significant issue of veterans not accessing healthcare services, compounded by the perception that there is a limited understanding of the armed forces amongst civilian healthcare staff.