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GPs risk placing veterans at a ‘disadvantage’

4 October 2011

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An e-learning tool has been launched in the hope it will lead to more GPs diagnosing mental health issues in veterans.

While a veteran’s physical injuries may be obvious to a GP, many experience other ill effects as a result of their time in the armed forces – such as mental health issues – which the Royal College of General Practice (RCGP) claim are “harder to recognise”.

It is estimated that the average GP practice with 2000 patients will have around 160 veterans on their list.

Veterans’ Health in General Practice aims to identify the psychological and physical issues commonly faced by veterans and their families.

Clare Gerada, Chair of the RCGP, has urged all GPs and their practice teams to undertake the training to ensure veterans are not at a “disadvantage” when they require care.

“GPs are usually the first point of contact for most veterans when accessing healthcare,” said Dr Ben Riley, the RCGP Medical Director for e-Learning.

“It is therefore very important that we should be aware of some of the issues they face and the potential relevance of their veteran status to their current health problems.”

The course has been developed by the RCGP in partnership with the Royal British Legion.

The programme was funded by the Department of Health.