In this email, Dr Phil Parker, veteran and community GP, shares some advice on how to better connect and support patients with symptoms of PTSD and some tools available to healthcare professionals.

With over 27 years’ experience in the Australian Defence Force (ADF), Phil is committed to veteran health.

  • Engagement with veterans with PTSD

The keys to providing care for patients with PTSD are patience and trust. The development of a strong relationship and support over time will allow the patient opportunities to open up about their condition.

 

  • Treatment Support

It’s important that GPs show a willingness to invest time in the care of the patient and their families. All PTSD patients should be provided with the opportunity to have psychological support with an appropriate mental health provider. The more acute patients may require psychiatry referral and that should be arranged promptly by the GP.

 

  • Issues for veterans with PTSD and their GPs

PTSD is an important condition that we as GPs should be able to manage in the community. There are many ex-serving members who have left the defence force and have been exposed to a whole new world of healthcare that they don’t really understand or know how to access.

 

  • Item numbers & assessment tools

There are several good screening and diagnostic tools available to GPs. The Phoenix Australia website has many online resources. A wide-range of resources is available on the GMRF website.

 

  • About Dr Phil Parker

Phil is a GP based in the Brisbane suburb of Newstead. Phil began his career in 1988 as an Army soldier. In 2005 he commenced medical studies at the University of Queensland and returned to the Army as a medical officer. In 2012 he was deployed to Afghanistan as the task force surgeon. Dr Phil was awarded his general practice fellowship in 2014 and transitioned to full-time community general practice in late 2015. He is committed to supporting the health of military veterans as they endeavour to establish new lives outside the ADF.