New data project will seek to understand veterans’ health needs in primary care

A new research project from King’s College London will explore whether the Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD), one of the world largest electronic databases including over 60 million anonymised records from primary care, can be used to improve understanding of the health needs of veterans who access their GP. This data resource has not been explored regarding the opportunities it may provide for veterans’ health research. Forces in Mind Trust has awarded £164,000 to the King’s Centre for Military Health Research to test the feasibility and utility of the CPRD, and the clinical and research opportunities afforded by its use. The research team, led by Dr Sharon Stevelink, will assess the potential use of CPRD to advance understanding about veterans physical and mental health profiles and the data challenges of capturing and meeting their needs from primary care onwards.

The project, in collaboration with the Imperial College London, will take place over 18 months from November 2022. The researchers hope to be able to explore the long-term mental and physical health outcomes of veterans within the UK healthcare system.

Tom McBarnet, Chief Executive of Forces in Mind Trust, said

“This is an important opportunity to explore whether the Clinical Practice Research Datalink can be used to better understand veterans’ health compared to the general public. In terms of informing preventative strategies alone, we know there are significant benefits to increasing understanding of veterans’ physical and mental health needs, and there is already real promise for CPRD as a usable tool which could significantly improve the knowledge and evidence basis upon which veteran healthcare is delivered. Therefore, we are pleased to be able to support this work as a catalyst toward improved health strategies for veterans and look forward to seeing the results.”

Dr Sharon Stevelink, Senior Lecturer in Epidemiology at the King’s Centre for Military Health Research, said

“We are delighted to have received this award from the Forces in Mind Trust. Currently, limited evidence is available about veterans’ health outcomes and their health services use in the UK primary care system, despite that upon transition from the military, the general practitioner will often be the first port of call for their physical and mental health needs. We believe that the Clinical Practice Research Datalink has the potential to play a key role in addressing this knowledge gap.”

Mr Shehan Hettiaratchy, National Speciality Advisor Armed Forces Health and Honorary Clinical Senior Lecturer Imperial College London, said

Up to 80% of veterans with physical health problems also have mental health needs. If we are to make sure these veterans and their families make the best recovery, it is vital to understand how physical and mental health interact. This study is an important step towards that understanding.”

Our Executive Members

By @Cobseo 54 years ago

Afghanistan support

In light of recent events in Afghanistan, please find information and support resources here