New Scheme to improve healthcare for veterans
Veterans Minister Graeme Dey today announced the launch of the General Practice Armed Forces and Veterans Recognition Scheme across Scotland, following a successful pilot.
The move aims to benefit veterans and Armed Forces families by providing more tailored healthcare focused on the specific health challenges they may face following military service.
The national roll out of the scheme aligns with SVC recommendations and is a hugely welcome move. For most Service leavers, GPs are the gatekeepers to wider healthcare services, so an improved understanding of veterans’ needs is a pivotal step towards ensuring they can access appropriate health and wellbeing services in a timely manner.
Some members of the ex-Service community can struggle to adapt and find it difficult to access and navigate health care in a less familiar civilian world. They may feel that medical staff do not understand their issues and may be reluctant to seek help. Knowing that GP staff have received specialist training will hopefully make them feel more comfortable about asking for help.
The scheme provides easy access training materials for GPs to help increase understanding of veterans’ needs and the range of healthcare support that can be provided. The specific issues faced by veterans and Armed Forces families will also be set out in clinical case studies to help improve understanding among GPs. Participation in the scheme is voluntary and aims to improve awareness of the relevant support services available.
Like the rest of the Scottish population, veterans have the right to the highest possible standards of health care and to live long, healthier lives. No veteran should ever suffer disadvantage as a result of their military service when accessing health services in Scotland. I would urge all GPs to play their part in helping to meet the needs of the veterans community by signing up to the scheme.
This is a really positive step for veterans across Scotland and I look forward to hearing about its impact in due course.