Veterans are the men and women who have served in the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force (Regular or Reserve), and who have now left to rejoin civilian life.Because of their military service, their healthcare needs can be different from those of other patients. WHY ARE VETERANS A SPECIAL GROUPService in the Armed Forces is different from other occupations. Apart from the obvious uncertainties and dangers, Service people relinquish some of their own civil liberties and put themselves in harms way to protect others.As an illustration, the risk of death (occupational attributable mortality) for the Army overall is currently around one in 1000 per year, or about 150 times greater than for the general working population. Risk of serious injury (for example loss of limbs, eyes or other body parts) is substantially increased.Because of this, the government promises to help and support people in the Armed Forces when they need it most. This is the Military Covenant, which is now to be enacted in law.The general principle set out by government is simply for no disadvantage to veterans and their families due to their military service, compared with society generally. It is estimated that there are around fourmillion veterans, around half of whom leftthe Services before 1960. In addition, inthe Armed Forces community, there are5.4 million adult spouses, partners,widowers and child dependants. Around18,000 Service people move back intocivilian life every year, including around2000 who leave the Services on medicalgrounds. Veterans may prefer to useother terms to describe themselves, suchas ex-Serviceman.Medical recordsVeterans are given a personal copy oftheir summary medical record when theyleave the Services, together withinformation on how you, as their new orcurrent GP, can obtain their full Servicemedical record if you need it. TheDepartment of Health (DH) is currentlyworking with the Ministry of Defence(MoD) to register Service leavers directlyand facilitate direct transfer of theirmedical records to you as they registerwith your practice. Some questions then..... 1/ Why does the Department of health not include veterans family or dependants in the Gateway referance providing priority treatment to healthcare. Senario: A veteran claims a war disablement pension at 70% degree of disability. He has Mobility and Care needs. His wife is his main carer and unfortunately falls ill with lets say gall bladder. The wife requires clinical intervention and is placed on the surgical waiting list. Under the gateway referance she is not given any priority at all. Overall result is that the veterans does not recieve quality care and becomes vulnerable due to reduced or impaired care provision.