Improving Healthcare access for veterans

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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.

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General details

Report title 
Improving Healthcare access for veterans
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Hertfordshire
Date of publication 
Thursday, 29 April, 2021
Date evidence capture began 
Monday, 1 June, 2020
Date evidence capture finished 
Thursday, 31 December, 2020
Key themes 
Communication between staff and patients
Holistic support
Integration of services

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
What type of organisation requested the work 
Other (please specify)
If this work has been done in partnership, who is the partner? 
Health Subgroup of the Hertfordshire Armed Forces Covenant Board
Primary research method used 
Deliberative event
Focus group
Structured interview
If an Enter and View methodology was applied, was the visit announced or unannounced? 

Details of health and care services included in the report

Primary care services 
GP practice
Secondary care services 
Inpatient care
Mental health services 
Community mental health team (CMHT)
Community services 
Community based services for people who misuse substances

Details about conditions and diseases

Types of disabilities 
Mental health
What type of pregnancy or maternity themes are included in the report 

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
All people 18 and over
Not known
Sexual orientation 
Not known
Does the information include public's views? 
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
Does the information include staff's views? 
Types of health and care professionals engaged 
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 

Outcomes and impact

Were recommendations made by local Healthwatch in the report? 
Does the information contain a response from a provider? 
Yes action has been taken or promised
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
Is there evidence of impact external to the report? 
Not known
What type of impact was determined? 
Implied Impact

Network Impact
Relationships that exist locally, regionally, nationally have benefited from the work undertaken in the report
Implied Impact
Where it is implied that change may occur in the future as a result of Healthwatch work. This can be implied in a provider  response, press release or other source. Implied impact can become tangible impact once change has occurred.
Tangible Impact
There is evidence of change that can be directly attributed to Healthwatch work undertaken in the report.