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Examining trends in Scottish veterans’ health

Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) has awarded the University of Glasgow £182,265 to conduct a three-year retrospective study examining the long-term health of Scottish veterans.

This is a follow up study to the original Scottish Veterans’ Health Study (2012-2015), which provided the first insight into the long-term health of 57,000 veterans (born between 1945 and 1985) and compared their health profile to non-veterans.

Researchers propose to examine a further five years of health data to compare the findings with those of the original study to detect emerging trends in ill-health over time, assess the implications for service provision and to evaluate the effectiveness of recent interventions, especially initiatives arising from the Armed Forces Covenant.

A further 10 years of birth cohort data (birth years 1986-1995) will be incorporated, which will include veterans who would have been 19 years of age at the end of operations in Afghanistan, in order to examine important mental health outcomes in these young veterans. There will also be additional health outcomes included in the study such as post-service amputations and joint replacement surgery as they have a bearing on care needs.

Ray Lock, Chief Executive of the Forces in Mind Trust, said:
“This latest research into the long-term health of veterans living in Scotland will help identify important areas of ongoing risk, unmet need, and trends in veterans’ health over time.

“This information will be of great value to service providers and government departments UK wide as the results are expected to be generalisable, and should help inform where interventions and support may be required to close any gap in unmet need, manage ongoing risk, and plan for future needs of this population.”

Dr Beverly Bergman, Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Health and Wellbeing, said: “The original Scottish Veterans Health Study has provided an unprecedented insight into long-term conditions, both physical and mental, in veterans who served as far back as 1960. We want to build on that to see not only how these older veterans are doing as they age, but also to look at emerging problems in younger veterans who have served on recent operations. We are delighted that FiMT is making this possible for us.”

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