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Military veterans are ‘not confident of getting the help they need from the NHS’

Beth Tildesley, Project Officer at Healthwatch Lancashire
Beth Tildesley, Project Officer at Healthwatch Lancashire

Just six per cent of military veterans in Lancashire are confident their GPs can give the health services they need, according to a new report.

Independent group Healthwatch Lancashire’s report got the views of almost 50 former armed forces personnel about their access to the NHS and the issues they face. It came as part of a three-month project aimed at giving the health service an insight into what veterans think and feel about the services they receive, particularly from their local family doctor.

Nearly half said they didn’t feel GPs were knowledge about veteran-specific services in their area.

Some 51 per cent said they felt there were barriers stopping them accessing services – with the most common being a lack of communication, and a lack of awareness of specific issues.

An average of 13 per cent were using veteran-specific services, the report also revealed, with a total of 64 per cent unaware of or not using the NHS’s Military Veteran Service.

Project officer at Healthwatch Lancashire, Beth Tildesley (pictured), said: “Healthwatch Lancashire is here to make sure all people in our communities are listened to and this project gives a voice to our military veterans.

“This report identifies areas where health services, or access to these services, can be improved for this community.

“The public’s voice will enable us to challenge providers about access to health services for military veterans off the back of significant intelligence we have received to suggest that things do indeed need to be improved.”