MPs, peers and key health figures gathered at a parliamentary reception last week to highlight the need for better signposting for visually impaired veterans.
The call, issued by Blind Veterans UK as part of its ‘No one alone’ campaign, aims to raise awareness of the charity’s work, as well as its support of blind and vision impaired ex-Service men and women, with the overall aim of improving the number of referrals to the charity.
The national charity provides practical and emotional support to help veterans adjust to life with sight loss, no matter when they served or how they lost their sight.
The charity estimates that there are currently 59,000 Armed Forces and National Service ex-Service men and women battling severe sight loss who have not accessed the free support of Blind Veterans UK. It encourages professionals, such as optometrists and GPs, to make sure they are signposting eligible patients to the charity’s vital support.
The reception, hosted in the House of Commons, was attended by Dr Philippa Whitford MP, ember of the health select committee and Mark Lancaster MP, Minister for Defence Personnel and Veterans, as well as representatives from the NHS, including national lead for military health, Richard Swarbrick, and sight loss charities Vision 2020 UK, the Royal National Institute of Blind People and UK Vision.
Speaking at the event, Dr Whitford, MP for Central Ayrshire and member of the health committee, said: “Ensuring patients are fully supported right from their sight loss diagnosis is vital and signposting them to organisations, like Blind Veterans UK, can often mean the difference between someone becoming depressed and someone being able to live a full, independent life.
“As health professionals, it is vital that we are committed to ensuring that every blind and vision impaired ex-Service patient knows about the life-changing support available to them from Blind Veterans UK, and how to access this.”
For more information about Blind Veterans UK visit, the No One Alone website.