Blind Veterans UK calls on local health authorities to fulfil the Armed Forces Covenant by referring vision-impaired ex-Service men and women to the charity

Date
9 October 2014 10:35

Blind Veterans UK calls on local health authorities to fulfil the Armed Forces Covenant by referring vision-impaired ex-Service men and women to the charity

In response to breaking news headlines today about standards of care falling short for ex-Service personnel, Blind Veterans UK has called on local health authorities to refer more vision-impaired veterans to the charity, at the point of diagnosis. 

Blind Veterans UK, the national charity for vision impaired ex-Service men and women, recently launched a report 'Living The Pledge' to raise awareness of the charity's free support and services, and to highlight its beneficiary recruitment campaign which seeks to reach more veterans who are eligible for its support. The report makes clear how referring an ex-Service man or woman to Blind Veterans UK can help fulfil the requirements of the Armed Forces covenant.

The report set out the current difficulties faced by the veterans' community, and called on MP's, local authorities and NHS healthcare professionals to improve referral pathways to the charity so that veterans are signposted to support as a matter of course, once they are diagnosed with severe sight loss. While there are examples of good practise being followed by different health authorities the charity is also aware of blind veterans who have lived with sight loss for a number of years before being referred to the charity, missing out on its free services and support.   

Barry Porter, Blind Veterans UK's Director of Welfare services said: "All Local Authorities have now signed up to the Armed Forces Community Covenant, and while there are examples of good practise being followed, Blind Veterans UK is also aware of many ex-Service men and women who have lived with sight loss for a number of years before being referred to the charity, missing out on its free services and support. We want every MP, health network and local authority in the UK to consider what can be done to improve referral pathways to the charity, so that we can ensure every vision impaired veteran gets the support they need and deserve."

The charity's No One Alone campaign is seeking to reach out to the estimated 68,000  veterans with vision impairment in the UK who could be eligible for support but are not currently receiving it. If you know someone who served in the Armed Forces or did National Service and are now battling severe sight problems, Blind Veterans UK may be able to provide them and their family with a lifetime's practical and emotional support for free. Visit www.noonealone.org.uk or call freephone 0800 389 7979 for more information.