According to a survey commissioned by Combat Stress, a mental health charity for veterans, only 42 percent of general practitioners knew the official guidelines for diagnosing post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as set out by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE).
The survey which was conducted in the England and Wales in July this year by the independent researcher ComRes, reported that thousands of war veterans are not being diagnosed early enough to prevent the onset of additional problems and mental illnesses such as alcoholism, depression and stress.
The charity Combat Stress, which is currently raising money through the Enemy Within campaign, has reportedly said that the figures decisively demonstrated that doctors are not diagnosing PTSD in veterans. They reported that a mere 5 percent of the 1,426 military personnel they helped were referred by their doctor.
The Royal College of General Practitioners commented in light of the report that there is unfairness in the care that veterans are receiving when they return from the front line. Additionally it has been reported that the college has since released guidelines to aid GP’s understandings of war veterans’ precise needs.
Since 2003, more than 180,000 British troops have fought and witnessed war in both Afghanistan and Iraq. The former Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Richard Dannatt has reportedly said that as many as 8,500 British troops could develop mental health problems . This highlights the fact that addressing the problems in diagnosing disorders such as PTSD is critical to getting it right now.