Veterans will be offered extra help from the NHS under a national

“It’s great to see successful local initiatives being rolled out nationally so that they can benefit patients across the country. I’m incredibly proud of the College’s Midland Faculty, of which I am a member, for identifying a good idea, turning it into reality and taking the lead on this.”It comes after a survey of veterans last year found a quarter have had  suicidal thoughts and more than two in five have felt lonely or isolated. The research by YouGov into more than 2,000 former military personnel  indicated higher levels of mental health issues than in the population as a  whole. The figures compiled for Ssafa, the Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen’s Families  Association, also found that a third of veterans polled said that they have  “felt overwhelmed by negative feelings”. A seperate study last month for Ssafa, Britain’s largest tri-service  charity, found 77 per cent of veterans said they felt unprepared for  civilian life.The report found many working-age service leavers feel  “undervalued by society and misunderstood by civilians”. Gemma Morgan, an army veteran, told the Telegraph at the time: “The  military puts huge effort into creating a separate society, a separate  fighting force, for good operational reasons,” she added, “but sometimes  the real world can be more complicated and there is often a reverse  culture-shock and loss of that sense of belonging once someone leaves”.   Military veterans will be offered extra help from the NHS under a national scheme to help them adjust to civilian life.GPs are signing up to become “veteran friendly” under the plan which aims to identify former members of the armed forces and ensure support is available.The scheme, backed by NHS England and the Royal College of GPs, is being rolled out nationally following a pilot involving 90 GP practices in the West Midlands.Dr Mike Brookes, a North Yorkshire GP who served in Iraq, came up with the idea when a patient told him that he had specifically joined his practice to see someone who could understand his needs as a veteran.Dr Brookes said: “It made me reflect on a potential unmet need for our veterans. I could see how pivotal a GP practice could be at identifying ex-service personnel to help ensure they receive care and treatment that is considerate of their time in the armed forces. It is great to think that a conversation with a patient at a GP practice in the Dales could lead to a national project to improve veterans’ health.”To become accredited, GP practices need to undertake dedicated training, introduce a system which identifies former members of the armed forces, and have a lead person responsible for veterans.Dr Jonathan Leach, a GP, who served in the army for 25 years and chairs the NHS England Armed Forces Clinical Reference Group called on GPs across the country to sign up.He said: “We are committed to providing veterans with a seamless, high quality service when it comes to their health needs. Our priority is to make sure that no matter where a veteran lives in the country, they will have access to a GP who understands their military related health needs and supports them to get the right treatment and support.  We are therefore urging every GP practice to sign up to this important scheme.”Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, chairman of the Royal College of GPs said: “Veterans often have unique health needs, and this new scheme is a fantastic way of ensuring that when they visit their GP, for whatever reason, these needs are flagged up, considered and accommodated. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.