Veteran Friendly Accreditation scheme for NHS GP practices

GPs urged to close veterans’ healthcare gap

GP practices are being urged to sign up to the Veteran Friendly Accreditation scheme to improve access to healthcare services, with a new initiative launched by NHS England (NHSE) in collaboration with the UK Government and the Royal College of General Practitioners.

The veteran friendly scheme was originally launched in 2018 and has been shown to be hugely beneficial to service-users, with previous research suggesting that 99% of accredited GP practices recommend it.

Despite this, only around 3,000 (48%) of the GP practices in England are accredited, although there is at least one accredited practice in 90% of all primary care networks.

A new survey of nearly 5,000 veterans in England has also found that nearly two-thirds (63%) would be more likely to seek help if they knew their GP practice had veteran accreditation.

This comes after the study showed that more than half (55%) of the respondents said they had experienced mental or physical issues that could be related to their service history, since leaving the armed forces. The vast majority (84%) of those had their condition deteriorate over time.

One in seven (14%) of these people have not presented to the health service though, with the most common reasons being they prefer to manager the issue alone (30%) and not believing a civilian healthcare professional would understand their experiences (15%).

Johnny Mercer comment

The Veteran Friendly Accreditation scheme advises busy GP teams on the best way to identify, understand and support the 1.74 million veterans in England.

If necessary, it also enables for referral to veteran physical and mental health specialist services such as Op COURAGE and Op RESTORE.

Associate medical director for armed forces and veterans’ health at NHSE, Dr Jonathan Leach OBE, said the programme helps deliver the best health outcomes possible for veteran patients.

He added that “it also saves busy practice staff precious time by enabling them to more quickly and effectively identify, understand and support veterans – reducing the need for repeat appointments and shortening waiting times for diagnosis and treatments.”

Image credit: iStock

NHE March/April 2024

NHE March/April 2024

A window into the past, present and future of healthcare leadership.

- Steve Gulati, University of Birmingham 

More articles...

View all
Online Conference


2024 Online Conferences

In partnership with our community of health sector leaders responsible for delivering the UK's health strategy across the NHS and the wider health sector, we’ve devised a collaborative calendar of conferences and events for industry leaders to listen, learn and collaborate through engaging and immersive conversation. 

All our conferences are CPD accredited, which means you can gain points to advance your career by attending our online conferences. Also, the contents are available on demand so you can re-watch at your convenience.

National Health Executive Podcast

Ep 42. Leadership in the NHS

In episode 42 of the National Health Executive podcast we were joined by Steve Gulati who is an associate professor at the University of Birmingham as well as director of healthcare leadership at the university’s Health Services Management Centre.