Summary of report content
Healthwatch Hertfordshire was asked by the Health Subgroup of the Hertfordshire Armed Forces Covenant Board to investigate the healthcare needs and experiences of veterans in Hertfordshire, and to support the Health Subgroup in identifying areas for future projects, as there was very little data to understand the needs of this group
The engagement ran from June to December 2020 and engaged 102 people including veterans and health professionals.
Most NHS services do not proactively identify veterans accessing their services. Where services do identify and record veterans, there is no consistent way of sharing this information with other services. This means veterans’ healthcare needs and priorities are not fully understood, and this in turn can affect their access to priority treatment.
Veterans are often reluctant and/or not aware of the importance of sharing their military history with NHS services, preventing them from accessing support. NHS services and veterans do not all agree on what ‘priority treatment’ for veterans means in practice.
NHS services and veterans are often unaware of what services and support are available to veterans. This prevents NHS services from signposting and supporting veterans effectively, and veterans from being able to request support if they need it.
Veterans can find it very difficult to access priority treatment, largely because NHS services are not always aware of this entitlement. NHS services have expressed a clear commitment to working with the Health Subgroup to improve experiences for veterans.