A campaign to improve healthcare for armed forces veterans is urging GP practices in the Stroud district to join the initiative. The Royal College of GPs’ program, supported by former paratrooper Jonathan Pape and Dr. Simon Opher, aims to make practices ‘veteran friendly’ by providing additional training and support. Currently, four practices in the district are accredited, but the goal is to involve every local GP practice in the program.
Dr. Opher, who runs May Lane Surgery, highlighted the importance of veterans informing their GP about their military service. By registering as a veteran, they can access support that can prevent more serious health issues in the future. The campaign hopes to significantly improve the care provided to veterans in the area. Mr. Pape, a resident of Cam, expressed his desire for all local GP practices to participate, as it could benefit a large number of patients aged 18 and older who have served in the regular or reserve forces.
Brigadier Robin Simpson, the Royal College of GPs’ Clinical Champion for Veterans and an NHS GP, believes that this initiative will greatly benefit veterans. He acknowledged that veterans face unique challenges when transitioning to civilian life and often hesitate to seek help for mental health issues. By participating in the program, GPs will be made aware of a patient’s veteran status and can better address their specific needs.
The Royal College of GPs’ campaign aims to enhance healthcare services for armed forces veterans in the Stroud district. By encouraging GP practices to become accredited as ‘veteran friendly’, they can receive specialized training and support to better understand and address the specific needs of veteran patients. In addition, these practices can refer veterans to appropriate NHS services, such as mental health and physical wellbeing programs. The ultimate goal is to involve every local GP practice in the program to ensure that veterans receive the support and care they deserve.