National military charity, Blind Veterans UK, has partnered with Health Education England to deliver a series of half- and full-day training workshops for GPs across England.
The sessions are designed to inform GPs about the healthcare of veterans. Hosting the first session in Lancaster earlier this month, Blind Veterans UK is one of six military charities taking part in the 15 training days that will run across England this year.
During the workshops, veteran speakers share their experiences and take part in small group sessions with GPs to provide them with insight into veterans’ healthcare needs and to inform them about the support that is available through the charities.
The project was established by Lieutenant Colonel Julian Woodhouse, a GP in the Royal Army Medical Corps, as a supplement to the GP e-learning package for NHS staff that was introduced when veterans’ health was added to the curriculum for members of the Royal College of GPs in 2015.
Lieutenant Colonel Woodhouse was initially approached to teach a group of 15 GPs in Buckinghamshire, but due to a high level of interest in the training this grew to 100 GPs and a training day at the Kassam Stadium in Oxford. Since then the training has been delivered to an estimated 1200 GPs and GP trainers.
Speaking about the training programme, Lieutenant Colonel Woodhouse said: “As someone with a military background myself, I’m passionate about improving awareness of veterans’ health issues. As a GP trainer, I feel that if we can educate new GPs as they approach the end of their training, we can greatly increase the awareness of veterans’ healthcare, their specific needs and some of the sources of help available.”