Increasing the number of veterans at your practice

Once you have identified the number of patients who are veterans, you may want to try to increase that number. Discuss with your practice possible methods that would work for your practice and population. The accreditation welcome pack contains some resources. Below are some suggestions:

  • Ensure veterans are recognised and documented in consultations and GP notes. Code ‘military veteran’ as a ‘problem’ so that it remains in the patient’s problem list and coded.
  • Ask the question “Have you ever served in the armed forces?” when consulting or by sending a text or Accurx message.
  • National Service ended in in 1963, so males born before 1945 are likely to be veterans and could be asked and coded.
  • Receptionists could ask patients and make a list of veterans to be coded.
  • Advertise that the practice would like to identify more veterans, perhaps with a veterans poster for highly visible areas. A poster can be found in the accreditation welcome pack.
  • Consider how the practice should commemorate “those who have fallen” on the 11 November.
  • Does any member of staff have a connection with the military?
  • Engage with local military charities.
  • Consider appointing a veteran onto Patient Participation Group.
  • Ensure veterans are recognised and documented in GP notes.

Become an accredited practice

How to conduct an audit to find out the number of patients who are veterans

Define the aim of your audit. Initially aim for a certain percentage of the practice population to be coded. 1% may be a good starting figure.

Take a baseline of how many veterans are in the practice. There are lots of codes including military veteran, Army veteran, Royal Navy veteran, Royal Air Force veteran, Royal Marine veteran, etc. However, ultimately they should all be coded 'military veteran'.

As a practice, carry out methods to increase the number of patients coded as military veteran.

Did you achieve your aim? By the end of the audit increase the number of patients identified as military veteran.

On the second run of the audit aim for a 1% increase from the baseline percentage.

How to find out who is a military veteran from an existing patient list

If your practice does a search of your practice population using the term 'military veteran', they will be picked up as a SNOMED code and this will tell you how many veterans are coded. The answer should be approximately 7% of your population over the age of 18. Your practice may want to consider carrying out an audit. Once your practice accredits you will receive a suggested audit structure in the accreditation welcome pack.

Eligibility for veterans who have served in foreign armed forces and now have a visa/leave to remain in the UK

Anyone who served in the British Armed Forces is a veteran, including those from commonwealth troops (for example, Gurkhas). If they have an indefinite leave to remain in the UK, then they are entitled to all the same care as other UK veterans. However, those from other countries, who may have served in the military in their own country, don’t count as UK veterans.

What computer code should be used for a patient who is a veteran?

Coding the patient as 'military veteran' and adding this as a ‘problem’ will ensure that a veteran is recorded on the computer system accurately. This code can be used to audit the number of veterans recorded at your practice. The expectation is that 7% of the adult practice patient population are veterans.

Registering a child of serving personnel 

Serving personnel are registered with Defence Medical Services at a military medical centre. In a situation where both parents are serving, also known as dual-serving families, their children need to be registered at either an NHS practice or a military families GP practice, where such facilities exist (not all military medical centres are able to accept families as patients). Where a child lives with either a lone serving parent or in a dual-serving family, the child is to be registered at a local NHS practice. Where one parent who the child lives with is not serving, the child should be registered at the same practice as their non-serving parent in the usual way. Parents being registered at a different GP practice to their children is not usual practice, but a necessity frequently encountered by dual-serving families or where the child lives with a lone serving parent.

Does a CQC practice rating affect accreditation?

NHS England recommend that a practice has a rating of ‘Good’ or better. However, we recognise the benefits that becoming veteran friendly accredited can bring, both to patients and the practice. If you're working towards a 'Good' or better rating, please apply to accredit. One of our clinical champions will contact you about your improvement plan and decide whether we can progress your application and welcome you to the list of accredited practices.

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Last modified: Monday, 29 April 2024, 1:20 PM