Veterans' healthcare toolkit
Get Veteran Friendly Accredited
Complete our 20 minute form and you’ll be sent our accreditation pack to help you improve your care for veterans and give your practice team the information they need.
Improve health outcomes for veterans and benefit your practice
The Veteran Friendly Accreditation scheme by the Royal College of GPs and NHS England is a quick-to-implement, free support programme for GP practices in England that will enable you and your practice team to easily identify, understand and support veterans and, where appropriate, refer them to specialist healthcare services designed especially for them.A veteran is anyone who has served a day or more in the UK Armed Forces and can be of any age, gender, sexuality, ethnicity and nationality. There are 1.74 million in England and research shows that many may be silently struggling with physical or mental health problems as they worry that they won’t be understood by civilian health and care professionals. Getting accredited makes a big difference - and it only takes 20 minutes. Join over 2,700 practices who have already become Veteran Friendly accredited - 99% of practices recommend it.
Become an accredited practice
What are the benefits of accreditation?
An evaluation of the Veteran Friendly scheme, completed by the University of Chester, revealed that 99% of participating practices would recommend it to others, with the most valued benefits including a simple process for identifying veterans, clear referral pathways to specialist veteran healthcare support and faster access to priority services.
Research shows that becoming accredited benefits both veterans and practice staff, with veterans getting access to the right support for a better patient experience and improved outcomes. Furthermore, practice staff say it makes them feel motivated and proud of their role. There is also the potential to save time through reduced repeat appointments.
Veteran Friendly accreditation also sends a strong signal to veteran patients that you are dedicated to supporting them, making it more likely that they will feel comfortable to seek help when they need it.
Accreditation can also be used to demonstrate evidence of meeting CQC obligations and the legal requirements of the Armed Forces Covenant, which requires that no veteran should face disadvantages in accessing health services and should receive priority care for military attributable conditions, subject to clinical need.
The difference it makes: veterans
“Having a veteran friendly GP, I believe, saved my life. Thanks to the support I’ve received, I’ve managed to acquire a toolbox of techniques to help me deal with the issues I have as a result of my service, boosting both my mental and physical health.”
“As a veteran, I know only too well the difficulties that ex-service personnel can face when visiting their GP practice with service-related issues. It can be extremely daunting. That’s why this scheme is so important.”
Hear more about Andrew’s experience as a veteran and why he is encouraging GP practices to sign up to the RCGP veteran friendly accreditation programme.
How can my practice become accredited?
Signing up to become Veteran Friendly Accredited takes just 20 minutes and the information pack you receive can be consumed in less than two hours, with supplementary learning shared in a short newsletter on a quarterly basis.
The form can be completed by anyone in the practice team, whether their role is clinical or non-clinical, with practice managers often taking the lead.
While a clinical lead must be named in the form, the learning and support can be shared across the wider practice team - with social prescribing link workers ideally placed to play a key role in running this initiative. Clinical leads don’t need to be veterans either - in fact most aren’t - showing you don’t need military experience to make a life-changing difference for this vulnerable patient group.
Created with busy surgeries in mind, the accreditation process has been designed to be very manageable. Once you have signed up and read the short accreditation pack, simply:
- Share the key information from the accreditation pack with colleagues
- Ask patients registering with the surgery if they have ever served in the British Armed Forces and record their answer in their patient record. We recommend writing the term ‘Military Veteran’ (due to a number of different codes available)
Stay up-to-date with best practice via the quarterly Veteran Friendly Accreditation newsletter, which provides easy access to the latest information and learning
The result will be better care for your patients and a multitude of benefits to your practice. A ‘good’ or higher CQC rating is desirable, but not essential.
Accredit your practice
The difference it makes: GP practice teams
Practice manager of Atrium Health Centre, Dorchester
"We found signing up to become a veteran friendly accredited practice a really straightforward process that has enormously benefited veteran patients and their families.”
Queen's Nurse and Veteran Clinical Lead at Orchard Surgery, Bromborough
“The scheme has helped us greatly improve the care we offer to veteran patients and their families - who may struggle to discuss their health needs.”
Dr Jackie Lodge
GP and Veteran Clinical Lead at Kirkbymoorside Surgery
“Becoming accredited has allowed us to build our knowledge of what is available to support veterans and help them get the best care possible.”
Ensure your practice is able to deliver the best possible care and treatment to veterans. A veteran is anyone who has served a day or more in the UK Armed Forces. They can be of any gender, age or ethnicity and many of them may need your help. The Veteran Friendly programme will give you everything you need to do that.