Why become a Veteran Friendly Practice in Essex ?
About the Veteran Friendly GP Practice Scheme
The Veteran Friendly practice scheme is accredited and endorsed by the Royal College of General Practitioners.
The scheme’s purpose is to make sure people who are currently, or have ever served in the armed forces, and their families, are not disadvantaged when it comes to getting the healthcare and support they need. This commitment to the Armed Forces Community is primary care implementing the UK national Armed Forces Covenant.
To make this happen, the NHS is working with local authorities and other agencies as part of the Armed Forces Covenant, to make sure veterans and their families, and those currently serving, find it easy to access health care. That is where the Veteran Friendly practice scheme comes in.
There are thousands of current and former armed forces personnel living within Hertfordshire and Essex but not all are known to their GPs. The average Primary Care Network (PCN) has around 700 veterans in their registered population.
Becoming a Veteran Friendly practice means you are playing your part to make sure people who have ever served in the armed forces are identified on your patient list. This means they can receive the most appropriate care and support they require, as quickly and as appropriately as possible.
More than 1,000 practices are already accredited across the country.
In Hertfordshire and Essex, a challenge has been set for one practice in every Primary Care Network to become accredited as a Veteran Friendly practice by April 2023.
Supporting you to become Veteran Friendly
Becoming Veteran Friendly as a practice will link the practice to national, regional and local services dedicated to supporting the Armed Forces Community and therefore take pressure off the practice not add more pressure to your existing services.
The RCGP will support you to become accredited. Once you have become accredited, the RCGP will give you an information pack with details about the health needs of veterans and the services available to them. You will get help to identify and code patients who have ever served, or are currently serving in the armed forces, to your system. The RCGP will also support you to appoint a clinical lead who can undertake training and other activities related to veteran healthcare.
Becoming Veteran Friendly also means you can capture vital information that will help improve future health provision for veterans, their families and the wider public.
To become accredited your practice will need to be rated ‘good’ by the CQC. Accreditation lasts for three years.
What it means to people who are currently or have every served in the armed forces
There are an estimated 28,000 veterans living across Hertfordshire and west Essex. That’s about 700 per PCN or 200 per practice. There are an estimated 3,200 severely frail veterans across the area who need well-co-ordinated care management.
Becoming a veteran Friendly practice means veterans and those currently serving, and their families, can feel confident in the knowledge that their care needs are identified and assessed so where necessary linked to dedicated services available to the Armed Forces Community.
More about the Armed Forces Covenant
The first Armed Forces Bill was passed by parliament in 2012, after which the Armed Forces Covenant (AFC) was established to make sure people serving or who have ever served in the armed forces were not disadvantaged when accessing public services.
Local authorities and the NHS work together to lead on the Armed Forces Covenant work in their areas. Each county has an AFC Board
NHS England has directly commissioned a range of specialist services to address veterans’ needs. The RCGP is working with NHS England to support practices by offering training and support as part of the Veteran Friendly accreditation scheme.
Trusts are also being encouraged to sign up for their Veteran Aware scheme, an accreditation run by the Veterans Covenant Healthcare Alliance (VCHA), also funded by NHS England.