In the past, we didn't track our veterans when they departed. Those who left at the end of the Second World War, and those who were in the national service did their statutory period of time, maybe a year or two, and they disappeared off the radar. Of the older veterans we have, the only way we are able to track them is if they are earning a pension from the armed forces.
Of course, that has been put right in the last few years or so. We track them very well now. We reach out to them and we do a check at six months, we do a check at 12 months, and we're able to follow those veterans as they leave the services now. However, turning back the clock is a difficult piece of work.
We are attempting to overcome this by working with the other government departments. Again, I believe that Rob may have briefed you earlier. We don't have a veterans department. Veterans are, first and foremost, members of society, so it falls on all the different government departments to look after them, including the Department of Health, the National Health Service, the Department for Communities and Local Governments, and the devolved administrations. You have to remember that Scotland, Ireland, and Wales do operate slightly differently. It falls on everybody to look after them.
Everybody is setting up systems to try to track them. One of those is through local general practitioners for doctors' surgeries. We are making training available to all our general practitioners across the United Kingdom on veterans. We believe that there should be between 10 and 20 veterans coming through any GP office at any stage, so we think it is right that every GP should be aware of and may have armed forces veterans in their community. We train them and then we allow them to reach back to us. Therefore, we can establish these links.
The other thing we're trying to do, which is a little bit further off, is that we have a census in the U.K. periodically and in the next census, due in 2021, we are trying to place questions around service in the armed forces and veterans' status, so hopefully people will respond to us. I know that's anonymized and it won't give us names and addresses and details, but that will help to inform us about the locations where we have concentrations of veterans as well.
With the census work and the work with the National Health Service and GPs, we are trying to bridge all of those gaps.