Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) has awarded £133,150 to the University of Chester to conduct research to examine how an advertising campaign can motivate ex-Service personnel to register with Primary Health Care practices.

This project will build upon earlier reports which show that ex-Service personnel can hold negative attitudes towards registering with GPs. This can lead to low awareness of the support available to them, as well as a limited understanding of their needs by primary health care professionals.

The study aims to identify what motivates veterans to register with a GP and to inform them of their Armed Forces status. It will look at which parts of an advertising campaign are effective at influencing veterans to register, examine trends relating to the demographic of the ex-Service personnel who do register, and provide detail relating to their physical and mental health profile. The project will also develop a theoretical model highlighting the primary initiatives that are successful in encouraging ex-Service personnel to register.

The project was awarded under FiMT’s Health Programme and is expected to be conducted over two years.

FiMT are committed to supporting the Armed Forces community throughout and beyond COVID-19 and this includes the continuation of funding to much needed projects such as this grant. The latest FiMT COVID-19 response can be found here.

Ray Lock, Chief Executive of Forces in Mind Trust says, “This study will build upon the existing research and help to develop a solution by providing a solid evidence base on the health needs of veterans whilst seeking to positively change behaviour. This will lead to improved recognition of the needs of ex-Service personnel from point of presentation and a better understanding of clinical priorities.”

Professor Alan Finnegan from the Westminster Centre for Research in Veterans at the University of Chester is Principal Investigator for this study and says, “Veterans are entitled to a broad range of healthcare benefits, and to maximise the uptake of these services, then it is vital that ex-Service personnel and their families register with a Primary Healthcare practice. Equally important is that the Primary Healthcare staff of General Practitioners, nurses and ancillary staff are mindful of the veteran’s status and that this is correctly recorded. This study will explore the factors that can be employed to maximise the Primary Healthcare offered to veterans and present a cost-effective template that can be implemented on a national basis.”

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