A healthier Armed Forces community

Recent studies by the University of Glasgow and the Forces in Mind Trust have analysed the correlation between Service and health related conditions. They have found that some conditions are found to be more prevalent amongst veterans than non-veterans. This includes hearing loss; musculoskeletal problems, such as arthritis; and alcohol and smoking-related diseases.


Personnel injured in Service, either physically or mentally, are treated while still serving. However, for those who are then medically discharged, and transition back to civilian life, the specialist support structures available can be unclear.


The ex-Service community that Poppyscotland spoke with reported gaps in specialist veterans’ physical and mental health support. They stated that such support is not always locally available, accessible, or structured to best understand and meet their tailored needs. Evidence highlighted by the Scottish Veterans Commissioner in 2018 found gaps in funding for some support services. For example, the Veterans First Point service is not funded to provide a local service in every health board area in Scotland.


Furthermore, the veterans’ health landscape has evolved in recent years with the introduction of a Scottish Veterans Care Network, which is still at an embryonic stage and the operation of Health and Social Care Integrated Joint Boards at the local level.


A Veterans’ Patient Satisfaction Survey would provide Health and So l Care providers with tailored information and feedback from veterans on the performance and quality of care received. The Scottish Government should work with the newly established Scottish Veterans Care Network, NHS Boards and local Integrated Joint Boards to deliver the survey and drive forward the improvements identified by its results. While also ensuring alignment and consistency with existing National Health and Care Standards.


Over the course of the next Scottish Parliament, the Scottish Government should:

Introduce a Veterans’ Patient Satisfaction Survey to empower veterans to provide tailored feedback on the quality of specialist care they receive; and then act on the results of the Survey.


“I was injured in Service because of heavy lifting. I had lost weight and it meant I was too light to carry the exceptionally heavy weight which formed part of the training for promotion. I spent 18 months in agony before I could get any help. I ended up in hospital and while I got help it could have been faster and better. I did not have the opportunity to provide feedback which I would have valued because it could have got me the specialist support that I needed and reduced the time I spent in agony.”


ALAN JAMIESON (Not their real name to respect client confidentiality)

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