GPs around the country are being asked to be proactively consider using a comprehensive care plan for their veteran patients after it was expanded to cover 10,000 more participants.
Veteran White Card holders with complex mental health needs linked to military service can now access the Coordinated Veterans' Care program which funds a care plan developed with their local GPs that was previously available only to veterans with the highest needs or impairment.
Veterans' Affairs and Defence Personnel Minister Andrew Gee said free mental health care was already available to anyone who has served one day in uniform, while this program goes a step further for those with chronic conditions and complex care needs.
"No two veterans have had the same experience while in service, and their level of health care requirements and support should reflect these differences," he said.
The program had proven to be effective in reducing unplanned hospitalisation and improving the quality of life for more than 17,000 Veteran Gold Card holders currently enrolled, he said, while expanding the program meant veterans with complex mental health needs can access life saving support through their local GP.
"Our country asks so much of our men and women in uniform. In return, Australia needs to ensure they have the best care possible we can provide once their service concludes.
"I am pleased that 4888 GPs are already providing services to veterans and their families through the CVC program, and I would encourage GPs around Australia who are not in the program already to consider joining."
The expanded eligibility, for Veteran White Card holders with a chronic mental health condition accepted as being related to their military service, was included in the last federal budget as part of the $150 million mental health initiatives.
There are currently 144,436 White Card holders, determined by the Department of Veterans Affairs. The department's approval is not needed to enrol a veteran patient in the program.
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