Health and Wellbeing Progress – Recommendation 17

Using information

The Armed Forces and Veterans Joint Health Group should oversee efforts to improve methods of recording, displaying and sharing information about veterans within the health and social care sector. This will be with a view to providing health professionals with the information needed to better understand and support veterans.

2019 SVC evaluation of status:

Partially implemented

2019 update provided by the Scottish Government:

The refreshed Joint Group on Armed Forces & Veterans Health will be considering ways to encourage more veterans to identify themselves to health professionals. We have worked with Veterans Scotland to update online information about veterans on NHS Inform. This was initiated from an awareness raising campaign for the duration of June 2018 to coincide with Armed Forces Day. A Toolkit to compliment the updated information has been produced for organisations who support veterans, and will be sent out early May 2019. NHS Inform has conducted an evaluation of the content on the pages to ensure that the information is as helpful as possible to veterans and a report on this will be published in May 2019.

2020 SVC evaluation of status:

Partially implemented

2020 update provided by the Scottish Government:

The Implementation Group has initiated work between NHS Fife IT department and Scottish Government eHealth policy leads to overcome challenges with the Trakcare system, with the aim of veterans’ status being highlighted on medical referral documents between primary and secondary care. It was necessary to pause this work in February 2020 and we are hopeful that it can be resumed soon. Statisticians from NHS National Services Scotland have been working with MOD to use data on veterans and service leavers to better understand the trends and messages that can be drawn from this. Going forward, we will add another layer to this work by working with a Scottish Government Improvement Adviser to establish i) where the data indicates good practice, and share this and ii) where the data indicates a gap or need, we can provide targeted support. 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 Network on data and information in the development stages and this group is intended to drive forward work on this.

2021 SVC evaluation of status:

Partially implemented

2021 update provided by the Scottish Government:

The Armed Forces & Veterans Health Implementation Group assigned a project team to work on a pilot project within NHS Fife. The pilot centres on working with a cluster of GP practices, using Quality Improvement methodology, to identify and trial improved methods of identifying and registering veterans with appropriate clinical coding on IT systems. The project will include retrospective coding of veterans already registered with practices. It is hoped that learning from this pilot will be expanded further across NHS Fife and then other Health Boards. Clinical coding is a key method of identifying veterans within and across health services and, in turn, providing a basis for delivering person-centred care.

In preparing for the Fife Pilot, there have been challenges in gaining clarity on the appropriate clinical code, with competing advice between nations and from different organisations. Recognising the need for a collaborative solution, we have raised this at the four nation DHSC/MOD Partnership Board by bringing a paper requesting cross-nation clarity and agreement. A four-nation group is being set-up to review coding advice and related documentation/processes. Clarity on this will allow progression of the NHS Fife Pilot Project.

2022 SVC evaluation of status:

Partially implemented

2022 update provided by the Scottish Government:

The General Practice Armed Forces and Veterans’ Recognition Scheme is currently being developed and it will be rolled out us a pilot scheme at the end of 2022. The purpose of the scheme will be to increase awareness in General Practices around the unique challenges that veterans and Armed Forces families are facing as a patient group, and establish consistent best practices across the nation. This work is further supported by the work that is currently ongoing on the Fife Coding Project. These projects are working in tandem, since by identifying who the veteran population is, and understanding the specific issues that veterans might experience, a proper course of action can be taken.  Additional data may be obtained from the Scottish Health Survey and the Census, with the potential of providing an additional locus of service improvements.

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