Military Veterans

Are you a Military Veteran?

According to the Armed Forces Covenant, veterans should receive priority treatment for a condition which relates to their service, subject to clinical need and they should be cared for in a way that reflects the nation’s moral obligation to them.  We are committed to following the NHS Patient Charter to ensure that our veterans have access to the help and support they may need following their service.

Please tell us if you are a military veteran so that we can make sure you are offered the support and assistance you may need, now or in the future, as a result of your service. It would help us to know in which of the Armed Forces you served, the dates of your service and whether you were discharged or retired due to ill health.

Thank you for your service.

Armed forces information

How to get the most from your GP

1. It is important to register with a GP as soon as you can rather than wait until you need treatment.

2. If you’ve recently left the forces, it is important to give your GP the paperwork that your military medical centre gave you, including any medical records. This will help to make sure your military health record transfers to your NHS health record. This will also give your GP information on your health and ensure that any ongoing care and treatment is continued.

3. Regardless of when you left the military, tell your GP that you’ve served in the UK Armed Forces. This will help your GP to better understand any military related health conditions that you may have and ensure that you are referred, where appropriate, to dedicated services for veterans.

This includes the specialist mental and physical health services, Op COURAGE: The Veterans Mental Health and Wellbeing Service and the Veterans Trauma Network.

When using these services, you will be able to speak to people who:
• understand the Armed Forces and military life
• are either from the Armed Forces community or highly experienced in working with serving personnel, reservists, veterans and their families
• will work with you to make sure you get the right type of specialist care, support, and treatment
• work closely with a range of organisations and charities, including military charities, to support your wider health and wellbeing needs.

4. With your agreement, it can sometimes be helpful for your doctor to refer you to Armed Forces charities, such as SSAFA, the Royal British Legion, Combat Stress or Help for Heroes. They can often offer significant help and support, even if they do not all deliver healthcare.

5. You may be worried about sharing information about your time in the Armed Forces. Please note that the NHS is bound by a confidentiality code of practice to ensure GPs, nurses and other people working within the NHS deliver a confidential service bound by law.

For more information, please see the FAQ, speak to your GP or visit the NHS Website 

NHS Services

You are a veteran if you have served in the Armed Forces for at least 1 day.

Reservists who are not mobilised are also given the status of veteran until they return to actively serving.

If you are a mobilised reservist registered with Defence Medical Services (DMS), find information about accessing NHS healthcare while in active service.

During and after your discharge period, there are a number of actions you can take to help NHS and specialist veteran services support you.

Find more information for service leavers

Op COURAGE: NHS mental health specialist service designed to help serving personnel due to leave the military, reservists, armed forces veterans and their families.

Op NOVA: Delivered by the Forces Employment Charity and commissioned by NHS England to provide support for veterans who are in contact with the justice system, enabling them to access the services they need.

Op RESTORE: The Veterans Physical Health and Wellbeing Service is an NHS service that provides specialist care and treatment to veterans who have physical health problems as a result of their time in the Armed Forces.

Veterans UK

Veterans UK offers free support and looks after the assessment, award, payment and maintenance of all pensions relating to service in the Armed Forces.

Veterans UK helpline: 0808 1914 218. Calls are answered 8am-5pm Monday to Friday – at other times callers have the option to be routed to the Samaritans (24-hour service) if they are in crisis. Helpline staff offer specific advice on AFCS and WPS claims and also help on other issues including benefits, pensions, loans and grants, emergency accommodation, finding a job, retraining, health issues, welfare concerns, service records and medals. 
Post: Tomlinson House, Norcross, Thornton Cleveleys FY5 3WP.

Veterans Gateway

Information and support for veterans and their families. For help with housing, employment, finances, living independently, mental wellbeing, physical health, family, communities and more. 


Call 0808 802 1212

Text 81212

Advice and support for veterans & ex-forces | Veterans' Gateway (

Forces Employment Charity

The Forces Employment Charity stands by ex-Forces personnel through an unrivalled range of programmes and practical support. They support anyone who has served at least one day in His Majesty’s Regular Armed Forces, or Merchant Mariners who have seen duty on legally defined military operations.

The support they provide includes:
  • Advice on career choices
  • Researching the job market
  • Job matching
  • Advice on training
  • Recommendations for courses and education
  • Support for writing a CV
  • Advice on interview techniques
  • Expert industry knowledge and updates
  • Events and employment fairs

They support all veterans regardless of rank, length of service or reason for leaving.



The aim of this service is to provide a point of contact and support to the Armed Forces community family members and carers of those serving or have served in the Armed Forces.  Within the BSW ICS that point of contact is Richard Marshall (  

OpCOMMUNITY can help with:

  • Liaising with other organisations on your behalf facilitating safe and expedient transfers of and continuity of care and support for those transferring into the area
  • Continuation of treatment and/or maintaining your place on a NHS waiting list
  • Providing advice, guidance and support on how to use the NHS
  • Advise on Veteran Friendly GP Practices within the local area
  • Social Prescribing support
  • Direct your query to a Service Champion within an organisation
  • Link with other Armed Forces specific services e.g. OpRESTORE: Veterans Physical Health and Wellbeing Network, OpCOURAGE: Veterans Mental Health and Wellbeing Service

If OpCOMMUNITY is unable to help directly, they will try and signpost you to the appropriate service.


OpCOURAGE is an NHS mental health specialist service designed to help serving personnel due to leave the military, reservists, armed forces veterans and their families.


To receive help and support from Op COURAGE, you must:

  • be a resident in England and have served in the UK armed forces for a full day
  • be registered with a GP surgery in England, or be willing and eligible to register with a GP
  • provide your military service number

It does not matter how long ago you left the armed forces or how long you served for. You can contact OpCOURAGE even if you left many years ago.

You can also contact OpCOURAGE if you're still serving but have a discharge date.

Contact details for the South West are by calling 0300 034 9986 or email

More details for the South West can be found here.


Op RESTORE: The Veterans Physical Health and Wellbeing Service is an NHS service that supports individuals who have served in, or are leaving, the UK Armed Forces and have continuing, physical health injuries and related medical problems attributed to their time in the Armed Forces. 

OpRESTORE can help by: 

  • ensuring you can access the right care and support
  • making sure you are treated by people who understand the military and specialise in the type of physical injury or related medical problems you may have
  • putting together a care plan with you shaped around your specific physical care needs
  • working with OpCOURAGE should you need support for your mental health and wellbeing
  • supporting you and your family access additional help where needed from Armed Forces charities

Any former Service personnel who are entitled to use this service will have been told to ask their GP to complete a referral form for the pathway.

For further information, please see the OpRESTORE leaflet.

Support Organisations

Combat Stress

Combat Stress provide support for those who have served their country and are experiencing mental health problems.

Within Wiltshire, Combat Stress work closely with Turning Point to support Veterans who have mental ill-health and also require help to deal with substance misuse and provide a specialist recovery pathway for Veterans experiencing substance misuse who may also have mental health problems.

You can get in contact directly 24-hour helpline: 0800 138 1619 Text: 07537 404 719  Email:

Help for Heroes

Help for Heroes supports those with injuries and illnesses sustained while serving in the British Armed Forces. No matter when someone served, they give them the support they need to lead active, independent and fulfilling lives. Their specialist team focuses on the five key areas of an individual's life: medical, mind, body, spirit and family. They provide support to the whole family to help them all cope with the challenges they face. Long-term recovery is more than repairing damaged bodies and minds; it's about rebuilding lives.

Tedworth House is based in Tidworth, Wiltshire - you can get in touch on 01980 844200 or

Soldiers', Sailors' and Airmen's Families Association (SSAFA)

Specialise in casework and identifying the need of veterans, serving military personnel and their families. They ensure they are claiming the benefits they are entitled to and then bring these together to get them back on their feet. They specialise in gaining funding from other Service, employment and niche charities for their clients.

Tel: 0800 731 4880

Army Families Federation (AFF)

AFF communicates, questions and influences policy at all levels, to improve the lives of the serving and resettling British Armed Forces community across the world. They offer support, information and guidance to individuals and Army communities on issues that impact on the quality of their lives.

To get in contact, visit: or call 01264 382326

Royal British Legion (RBL)

One of the many things the RBL provide is a Benefits, debt and money advice service for those who have served their country; as well as small grants and care homes for ex-service people. To get in contact, visit or call 0808 802 8080.

Drug and Addiction Support

If you are struggling with alcohol or drug addiction Turning Point are experts in delivering innovative integrated care in communities, and work closely with other veterans' charities and agencies such as Combat Stress where appropriate.

Wiltshire Turning Point, Chippenham and Salisbury Tel: 07885 406308

Wider wellbeing support - Wiltshire Council