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War veterans asked to self-declare to their GP 

War veterans asked to self-declare to their GP 

The Government has urged ex-forces personnel to identify themselves as veterans with their GP so that they can receive appropriate care.

By declaring themselves to their local GP, they will be able to access ‘more specialised physical and mental health care support’, ministers have said.

NHS England has ‘dedicated’ mental and physical health care pathways for veterans, including the Op Restore programme, which from the autumn will also support veterans to access mobility equipment through grants.

Health secretary Steve Barclay said: ‘Veterans have given so much to this country and when they need support as a result of their dedicated service, it’s only right that the NHS is there for them.

‘Op Restore is a brilliant programme that helps with veterans’ physical health and wellbeing. Their joint approach includes military clinicians, meaning they receive help from medical professionals with a deeper understanding of their individual needs.

‘For most veterans, serving the nation is a hugely positive and beneficial experience.

‘But for the minority who find their health impacted by their time in the armed forces, I want them to be able to come forward to receive both short and longer-term care tailored specifically to them, and I want them to know that services such as Op Restore are there to support them.’

Shehan Hettiaratchy, national clinical director of Op Restore and chair of the NHS England Armed Forces Healthcare Clinical Reference Group, said: ‘We work with military charities and closely link with Op Courage [The Veterans Mental Health and Wellbeing Service] so every element of the veterans’ health needs are met.

‘Veterans will be seen by clinicians within the NHS who have an understanding of the challenges of military life – many having served themselves.

‘If you have continuing physical health injuries and related medical problems attributed to you time in the Armed Forces and think you need the help that Op Restore can give you, ask your GP to refer you and we’ll do the rest.’  

Following the Queen’s death last year, GPs were told her death was ‘of particular significance to the Armed Forces community and has the potential to trigger mental health issues within that community’ and NHS staff should familiarise themselves with referral pathways to veterans’ mental health and wellbeing service Op COURAGE.


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Michael Green 12 September, 2023 7:05 am

GP informed