militaryMany GPs are unaware of military veterans on their list, new research published in the Journal of the Royal Army Medical Corps has revealed.

Veterans make up about 6% of the population, yet nearly 50% of NHS GPs are unaware of how many veterans are listed on their books. In total, 47% pf respondents were either ‘unsure’ or ‘didn’t know’ how many veterans they were responsible for.

The survey followed up on work by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), which tried to raise awareness of medical issues related to veterans. In part, this has succeeded, the authors have claimed, but GPs are still largely unaware, or not using, resources that are available to them.

Only 7.9% of GPs used the unique Read Code for veterans, while three-quarters (75%) of GPs said they had not seen the RCGP leaflet on veterans’ health. Less than 2% of GPs had used the RCGP online learning resource.

The authors of the report said further work is required to assess the extent of the problem, while GPs requested more information to allow them to successfully assess veterans and signpost to appropriate services if necessary.

Each year, more than 18,000 people leave the military and move back into civilian life. It is estimated that if veterans were spread evenly across the UK, each GP surgery would have about 100 veterans on their list. Of the GPs who responded to the survey, a significant number said they had seen a veteran within the past month.

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