Military veterans experience of NHS services, Lancashire and Blackpool

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Summary of report content

Healthwatch Lancashire and Healthwatch Blackpool identified a need to explore the issues faced by military veterans in accessing NHS services. Between September and December 2017 the two local Healthwatch endeavoured to engage with military veterans, their families and staff/volunteers who support veterans in a professional capacity. The findings show that the majority of military veterans are not registered as such with their GP, and a high percentage do not feel confident in their GPs ability to signpost them appropriately should they require military veteran specific services. An average of 13% of military veterans spoken to were accessing military veteran services, with a high percentage having never heard of or accessed the NHS service. Peer support groups such as the Veteran’s Breakfast Clubs appeared to be the most popular. The majority of military veterans and people who support military veterans reported that there are barriers for military veterans accessing health care, mainly due to a lack of awareness and understanding around military veterans, as well as cultural issues such as pride and stigma around appearing weak. The most commonly suggested ways to overcome these barriers include more training and education for professionals as well as more promotion of military veteran services. People spoken to also said that access to more information on these services would also help improve health care for military veterans. When the military veteran community were asked what kind of tool they think would encourage military veterans to register their status with the GP, the most common suggestion was to have a poster in the surgery’s reception. Despite minimal responses from GP surgeries regarding the work they already do to support their military veteran communities, there appears to be significant differences in their approaches, from full involvement with university research schemes to almost no additional support, training or guidance. The report contains a response from the Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust outlining their approach to supporting military veterans and states that the Trust signed the Military Covenant on 30 January 2018 highlighting the commitment of the Trust. At the end of this report is a directory, included in the hope that those from the military veteran community who read the report will be able to explore a range of military veteran services in the North West.

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General details

Report title 
Military veterans experience of NHS services, Lancashire and Blackpool
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Blackpool
Healthwatch Lancashire
Date of publication 
Tuesday, 1 May, 2018
Date evidence capture began 
Friday, 1 September, 2017
Date evidence capture finished 
Sunday, 31 December, 2017
Type of report 
Key themes 
Booking appointments
Communication between staff and patients
Consent to care and treatment
Continuity of care
Health inequalities
Health promotion
Health protection
Holistic support
Information providing
Lifestyle and wellbeing
Patient records
Quality of care
Service delivery organisation and staffing
Staff attitudes
Staff training
Healthwatch reference number 

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
What type of organisation requested the work 
Primary research method used 
Engagement event
Unstructured Interview
User stories
How was the information collected? 
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 
Acute services with overnight beds
Counselling/improving access to psychological therapies (IAPT)
Mental health services 
Psychiatry / mental health (other services)

Details about conditions and diseases

Types of disabilities 
Not known
Types of long term conditions 
Not known
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
Specific ethnicity if known 
English/Welsh/Scottish/Northern Irish/British
Sexual orientation 
Not known
Does the information include public's views? 
Not known
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 
All care professionals
Allied health care professionals
Does the information include other people's views? 
Not known
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
Tangible impact (not cost related)

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.