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Plan to highlight veterans' needs

Defence minister Kevan Jones has announced that the NHS medical records of Armed Forces veterans could be marked so that GPs recognise their military service and possible mental health needs.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has a number of programmes to support the needs of both serving troops and veterans, Mr Jones said.

He intends to issue special identity cards for ex-servicemen and women to give them priority NHS treatment, access to housing and discounts on public transport, he revealed in a newspaper interview.

Tory Richard Benyon (Newbury), at Commons question time, said that a recent survey had found widespread ignorance of support offered to veterans suffering from mental illness.

He asked: "What is the government going to do to better inform GPs about these programmes and better inform reservists as well?"

Mr Jones replied: "I'm looking at a system whereby when people leave the Armed Forces, and reservists (are) included, it can be flagged up on their medical records in the NHS, which I think will give broader visibility to individuals, certainly GPs, to recognise they have had military service."

He said there was an onus on ministers and MPs to promote schemes to help veterans and reservists with mental health problems.

Copyright © Press Association 2009


Your comments (terms and conditions apply):

"Very good idea, especially since we no longer have military hospitals. HM forces and their famlies are a unique group and this needs to be flaged up in some way - however, I am not sure how best to do this, this may be one way. At least its being addressed." - Olivia Neely, Coventry