The Department of Health (DOH) has released a circular reminding all PCTs, NHS acute, mental health and foundation trusts of the priority treatment guidance in place for military veterans that was established by the DOH’s letter dated 1 January 2008.

A recent survey by the Royal British Legion has revealed that 81 per cent of GPs knew nothing or little about veterans’ right to priority care and that 94 of the 170 acute trusts in England also said they had no records on priority treatment and five said they were unaware of the scheme.
GPs have been reminded that when making referrals relating to a military veteran for diagnosis or treatment, they should :

  • Record the veteran’s status as part of the referral (unless the patient objects to their veteran status being disclosed).
  • State whether the condition might be related to military service and whether they consider that priority treatment might be appropriate because the condition is likely to be related to the veteran’s time in service.
  • Prioritise veterans with service related conditions over other patients with the same level of clinical need. However, veterans should not be given priority over other patients with more clinical need.

The guidance can be accessed here.