Health and Wellbeing Progress – Recommendation 8

Access to life-long services

The Scottish Government, NHS(S), Health Boards and local Councils should make a commitment to veterans with the most severe and enduring physical (and mental) conditions that they can access the highest quality health and social care services for life and as their needs change. Health and Social Care Partnerships and Integrated Joint Boards will be instrumental in planning the delivery of these services and the national network recommended in chapter 2 should assume responsibility for oversight of this work as an early priority.

Commissioner’s comment – SVC will re-assess this recommendation in early 2023, to ensure it is still appropriate.

2019 SVC evaluation of status:

Not implemented

2019 update provided by the Scottish Government:

The Managed Clinical Network referred to under Recommendation 4 will provide the oversight that this recommendation requires. In addition, the Scottish Trauma Network, now in its second year of phased implementation, aims to meet the needs of the population of Scotland, working across traditional specialities and geographic boundaries to deliver better outcomes for patients, improving outcomes at every stage of the patient journey, from pre-admission to rehabilitation.

2020 SVC evaluation of status:

Partially implemented

2020 update provided by the Scottish Government:

We would expect this to be explored within the remit of the Scottish Veterans Care Network.  SVCN has undertaken a stakeholder mapping exercise to ensure that all appropriate bodies and organisations across the landscape of health and social care (and other stakeholders) have representation on the SVCN Governance groups (Oversight Board and Core Steering Group) to ensure engagement in collectively working towards access to life-long services. This includes a Health and Social Care Partnerships (HSCP) Chief Officer representative who will link to the overall Chief Officers Group, as well as NHS Veterans Champions (working regionally) to disseminate and collate intelligence from NHS boards/ HSCPs. This recommendation will interlink with Recommendation 7. 

The SVCN has begun work to map the range of existing health and care services available for veterans across Scotland, this will include services provided by NHS Boards, Health and Social Care Partnerships (HSCPs), Integrated Joint Boards (IJB’s), Third Sector and Councils and Charities. This will be compiled along with existing published data on veterans’ health, in order to develop a Mental Health Action Plan which will inform the planning of services for the future. The SVCN has started collaborative work with Public Health Scotland (PHS) and MoD on sources of data regarding veterans in Scotland. A working group within the SVCN on data and information is in the development stages and this group is intended to drive forward work on this. The proforma to gather intelligence around the Mental Health Action Plan will also go out to HSCPs and IJB’s to gather intelligence around strategic planning for veteran’s services and will thus link to this recommendation and is envisaged will inform planning of services for the future. 

2021 SVC evaluation of status:

Partially implemented

2021 update provided by the Scottish Government:

As detailed in our 2020 update, the SVCN has undertaken a wide range of consultation, mapping exercises, and a literature review on services and support for veterans in Scotland. Upon publication of the Mental Health Action Plan, we will work closely with the SVCN and other partners to deliver on its recommendations.

Delivery of priority treatment is an important mechanism in ensuring veterans have life-long access to the appropriate treatment for Service-related injuries. As noted in A Distinctive Scottish Approach, the concept of priority treatment is contested and often misinterpreted. We participate in a four nations Priority Treatment Working Group, which is re-examining the term “priority treatment” and its related definition to ensure veterans receive the appropriate Service-related care they are entitled to. The overarching aim of this work is to ensure that the terminology is appropriate and therefore consistently applied so that Service-related injuries are provided with the care and consideration they are due.

Once the four-nation work has concluded, we will work on Scottish messaging and communications with Health Boards, Primary Care, and other partners to ensure awareness of any new developments/ outcomes.

2022 SVC evaluation of status:

Partially implemented

2022 update provided by the Scottish Government:

We regularly engage with our stakeholders with regard to upholding the principles of the Covenant and the concept of priority treatment.  We engaged in the recent consultation on the guidance to support the Armed Forces Bill, to ensure that the principle of due regard is recognised and can be applied to the Scottish context.  Our Joint Group priorities provide a focus to assist in improving health outcomes for the Armed Forces and Veteran community and establish an understanding of their health and social care needs.  For example, our project which applies a consistent marker on primary health care records will go some way to identify our veteran community.  This data, on who and where our veterans are, can assist us to identify the support that is needed and the annual review of these priorities enables us to drive progress forward.

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