What is the RCGP advice on veteran’s health?

Whilst many aspects of the health needs of veterans are the same as for the general population, there are sometimes significant differences, particularly in relation to conditions attributable to service life and the associated impact for individuals and their families. These differences can be reflected in the way in which healthcare is delivered, the range and types of some specific services provided and the long-term impact upon patients and families. Veterans more likely to have:

  • long-term illness, disability, or infirmity (BMJ 2021).
  • a common mental health disorder (BMJ 2021) including adjustment disorders, drug and alcohol-related problems, mood disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • muscular skeletal disorders such as arthritis, lower back, hip, and knee pain that impair mobility (US Veterans 2016).
  • difficulty hearing - about 3.5 times more likely under the age of 75 (Royal British Legion’s ‘Lost Voices’ report 2014).
  • smoking related illness (BMJ 2021).

Podcasts, webinars and other resources that will help you in the care of veterans can be found on our learning resources page. They include:


General practice and the care of families serving personnel

This podcast is aimed at GPs and primary health care teams, who may not be aware of some of the issues facing service families and the implications this can have on their health, wellbeing and access to NHS Primary Care services. The purpose of the podcast is to raise awareness of the RCGP and NHSE work to meet these needs, and how healthcare professionals can improve care for the families of serving military personnel.

Part 1

In this episode, Dr Veronica Grant - RCGP veterans Clinical Champion - is joined by Jenny Ward, Naval Families Federation, Karen Ross, Army's Families Federation, and Alison Cotton, RAF Families Federation, to discuss some of the challenges faced by military families and ways in which NHS GPs can best help and support.

Part 2

In this episode, Dr Veronica Grant - RCGP veterans Clinical Champion - is joined by Iza Gill, military family representative, and Dr Nigel Fraser, GP, to discuss the practical experience of GPs and service families.

Transition from military to NHS GP care for veterans

In this episode, Niki Murdoch - Independent Chair of NHS England's Armed Forces Public Patient Voice Group, Dr Robin Simpson - RCGP Clinical Champion for veterans' healthcare, and veteran WO1 Colin Brown - RM Corps Drum Major and Buglers Spec Advisor, discuss transitioning from the military and the challenges that leaving can bring to former service personnel and their families.

NHS care of female Armed Forces veterans

In this podcast, RCGP Veterans Clinical Champion Dr Veronica Grant meets Ali Brown, Military Veteran and Co-chair of SESWHISG, COBSEO Female Veteran Cluster, to inform NHS GPs and primary health care teams about female veterans’ health, and potential medical challenges faced by this patient group.

Mental health needs of Armed Forces veterans

In this podcast, RCGP Clinical Champion for veterans' healthcare Dr Robin Simpson meets Sean Gane, a military veteran and Veteran Support Centre Manager in Herefordshire, and Gary Sell, a military veteran and Peer Support Worker for Op Courage, to give NHS GPs an understanding of the mental health needs of veterans, how they might present to Primary Care, and the available resources that can help.

RCGP veteran friendly GP practices: a veteran's view

In this podcast, RCGP Clinical Champion for veterans' healthcare Dr Emily Brookes meets Andrew, a veteran who is encouraging GP practices to sign up to the RCGP veteran friendly accreditation. Andrew is not affiliated with the Royal College of General Practitioners, and the work that he is doing is voluntary and within his own time, due to his passion for better care for veterans.

Physical health needs of Armed Forces veterans

In this podcast, RCGP Clinical Champion for veterans' healthcare Dr Emily Brookes talks with Beth Lambert, National Service Lead for Op RESTORE, and Mr Shehan Hettiaratchy, National Clinical Director for Op RESTORE, about their specialist service designed to improve physical healthcare for Armed Forces veterans.


Webinar: General practice and the care of Armed Forces veterans and their families

This webinar is the first in a new series of resources to help GPs to meet the healthcare needs of veterans and their families. It features lived experience from veterans, currently available services, and referral pathways.

Webinar: Evaluation of the veteran friendly practice accreditation

In this webinar, RCGP Clinical Champion for veterans' healthcare Dr Robin Simpson meets Kate Salem and Dr Alan Finnegan, both from the Westminster Centre for Research in Veterans, University of Chester, to discuss the evaluation that the university conducted on this accreditation programme. 84% of accredited practices feel they have a better understanding of veterans needs since becoming accredited, and 99% of accredited practices would recommend the accreditation: apply online to become veteran friendly.

Webinar: The contribution of social prescribing to the holistic care of veterans

In this webinar, RCGP Clinical Champion for veterans' healthcare Dr Emily Brookes meets Liza Jarvis, Senior Programme Manager (South West NHS England) and Becky Ormrod, Armed Forces Social Prescribing Link Worker, to discuss how social prescribing link workers can help support the health and care of veteran patients. Liza and Becky share evidence from an armed forces social prescribing pilot study carried out in the South-West of England.

Video: Don't ask, can't tell

Some veterans have complex health care needs and may present to out of hours services in crisis. "Don't ask, can't tell", is an innovative animation designed for clinicians in the out of hours primary care setting, to offer insight and raise awareness of important veterans' health issues. It combines visual and audio information in a concise and captivating format to help better equip clinicians when caring for veterans and provides important sign-posting information to Op COURAGE: The Veterans Mental Health and Wellbeing service.

Watch the Don't ask, can't tell video

Screencast: Veteran’s health and honouring the military covenant

Looking after those who served in the United Kingdom’s armed forces is an important aspect of day to day general practice. This screencast introduces the current state of health of Britain’s 2.5 million military veterans and focuses on common aspects of veteran’s health, such as physical and emotional trauma and how all members of the primary care team can honour the military covenant by following appropriate referral patterns for ex-military personnel.

Login to access the veteran's health screencast

Registering veterans at your practice

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Last modified: Thursday, 11 July 2024, 11:48 AM