Who is a Veteran?
A veteran is someone who has served in the armed forces for at least one day, and there are around 4.5m veterans in the UK.
When servicemen and women leave the armed forces, their healthcare is the responsibility of the NHS.
Priority NHS Care for Veterans
As a veterans you are entitled to priority access to NHS hospital care for any condition, as long as it's related to your service.
When leaving or having left the armed forces, you will have been given a summary of your medical records, which you will need to give to your new NHS GP.
As a Veterans, we encourage you to tell your new GP about your veteran status in order to benefit from priority treatment if needed.
Veterans and Mental Health
A minority of people leaving the armed forces may need access to mental health services later in either when they immediately leave 'service' or later in civilian life.
There are a number of Mental Health community based schemes availabel across the country with Six Pilot schemes having been launched in Stafford, Camden and Islington, Cardiff, Bishop Auckland, Plymouth and Edinburgh. The schemes provide expert NHS treatment.
Veterans can enter the community-based schemes through a number of routes:
- Ask to be referred by their GP.
- Self-register with the scheme directly.
- Friends and families of veterans can contact the scheme.
- Ask to be referred by the Veterans Welfare Service or by charities who help servicemen and women.
For veterans who don't live near one of these places, they can access the Veterans and Reserves Mental Health Programme (formerly Medical Assessment Programme), which is available to veterans deployed on operations since 1982.
The programme offers comprehensive physical and mental health assessments for veterans who feel that their condition may be linked to military service.