Michael Almond, Professor of Veterans & Families Studies and wing commander, talks about the importance of the Armed Forces Covenant, and why it is essential NHS organisations ensure they are providing the best possible support and services for veterans.

Quite appropriately attention is drawn to those veterans suffering from physical wounds and with mental health problems directly attributable to service in the Armed Forces. However, a much larger veteran community exists with physical problems no different to the general population.

A recent YouGov report [1] identified that the majority of the general public believes that people serving with the armed forces are associated with positive attributes: bravery and discipline being the two most frequently quoted. After transition to civilian life, however, negative associations are also common: disabled, maladjusted or mentally damaged and particularly post-traumatic distress disorder feature prominently.

It’s important to note as little as one day’s service, regular or reserve, is sufficient to qualify as a veteran. Veterans spread across a diverse range of the population, including women and younger people who have served, but are predominately still male and reflect those who served in World War 2 or during National Service, the last those leaving in 1963.

Click here to read more of this blog post from the Royal College of Physicians.