Military Veterans

What is a veteran?

A veteran is someone who has served in the British Armed Forces (Regular or Reserve) for at least one day. Veterans also include any member of the Merchant Marine who has served in a war zone. This includes crew from convoys in World War 2 and more recently in the Falklands conflict and Gulf Wars.

There are around 4.5m veterans in the UK. About 18,000 service people move back into civilian life every year. Around 2,000 service people leave on medical grounds. This can be due to back or knee pain, mental health and hearing difficulties .

What does this mean for me?

When Soldiers leave the military, they can get medial care from NHS. Veterans can get help from the NHS for any health issues related to their time in the military. Even if they don’t receive a War Pension. Veterans should tell their doctor they served in the military so they can get help faster if they need it. Veterans can have health problems in different ways.

Are you a Military Veteran? Please tell the front desk, your Doctor or Nurse so we can update your medical records. This will help us to make sure you are getting the best care.

Top tips for veterans

How to get the most from your GP

  1. It is important to register with a GP, rather than wait until you need treatment. Visit the NHS website at to find details of GP practices in your local area.
  2. If you have left the military, make sure to give your Doctor all the paperwork and medical records from your Military Medical Centre. This health information will go into your regular doctors records. It will help your doctor know about your health and make sure you keep getting the care you need.
  3. Regardless of when you left the military, tell your GP that you’ve served in the UK Armed Forces. Your GP will then known about any military related health conditions that you may have. Your GP can then refer you, 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, your doctor can refer you to Armed Forces charities. These could be SAFA, 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. Don’t worry about telling us about your time in the military. The NHS has a rule that keeps your information private and confidential by law.

For more information, speak to your GP or visit the NHS website at

Military Veteran Local Support

Dedicated Health services for the Armed Forces community

OP COURAGE: The Veterans Mental Health and Wellbeing Service

Op COURAGE: The Veterans Mental Health and Wellbeing Service, is the new overarching name for the Veterans’ Mental Health Transition, Intervention and Liaison Service (TILS), Veterans’ Mental Health Complex Treatment Service (CTS) and Veterans’ Mental Health High Intensity Service (HIS). The new name has been developed following feedback from veterans and their families to make it easier for those leaving the military and veterans to find help.

Op COURAGE is for Service leavers, reservists, veterans and their families. You can contact the service direct, or ask a GP, charity or someone else, such as a family member or friend, to refer them.

For further information, including contact details for the service in your region, visit

Veterans Trauma Network (VTN)

The VTN is for veterans who have physical health problems which have been caused from their time in the Armed Forces.

There are VTN’s located in lots of major trauma centres across England. The VTN works closely with DMS, Op COURAGE: The Veterans Mental Health and Wellbeing Service, as well as military charities, to provide specialist care and treatment.

Access is via GP referral only. To refer a veteran, email [email protected]

Personalised Care for Veterans

Veterans who have a complex and life-long health condition may be eligible for the veterans personalised care programme, which seeks to give individuals more choice and control over how their care is planned and delivered. Veterans will have a personalised care plan based on what matters to them and which they help to develop. They may also be eligible for a personal budget to pay for some of the care and support they need.

Access to this programme of care, means that veterans should also get more support in the community and access to a range of help, such as emotional and practical support from people who have similar health conditions or disabilities. This is to support access to dedicated services, such as Op COURAGE and the VTN.

Applications should go to to the person’s local integrated care system.

For more information, visit