More than half of Britain’s GPs are unaware of how to spot Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in veterans – despite official guidelines being available,.
defencemanagement reports that a ComRes poll commissioned by forces charity Combat Stress found that just 42 per cent of GPs were familiar with National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines on diagnosing PTSD – the psychological effects of battle seen so often in the pages of Charley’s War.
Nearly half, 49 per cent, said they were not familiar with the guidelines at all, according to the survey of 1,006 doctors.
Combat Stress says that around 27 per cent of the more than 191,690 troops who have deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001 risk developing mental health problems, and that statistically over 9,000 are at risk of developing PTSD.
“Our clinical audits tell us that 80 per cent of veterans who come to Combat Stress for clinical treatment have first tried to get help from either their GP or other specialist services, but have not received the support and treatment that they needed,” Walter Busuttil, Combat Stress’s medical services director, told the Daily Telegraph.
“This has led to around half the veterans who come to Combat Stress each year essentially self-referring.”
A 2010 report by the Kings College London Military Health Research Centre warned that the National Health Service could be overwhelmed by the cumulative effect of thousands of new diagnoses of PTSD in years to come as a result of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Since 2005 Combat Stress has seen a 72 pr cent increase in demand for their specialist services caring for Veterans’ mental health.
Combat Stress delivers dedicated treatment and support to Ex-Service men and women with conditions such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression and anxiety disorders. Our services are free of charge to the Veteran.
• Combat Stress is online at: www.combatstress.org.uk