A veteran is someone who has served in the armed forces for at least 1 day. There are around 2.4 million veterans in Great Britain.

When servicemen and women leave the armed forces, their healthcare is the responsibility of the NHS.

It is very important for continuing healthcare that you register with an NHS GP. You should tell them that you have served. This will help your GP to better understand any service-related health conditions that you may have.

If you have recently left the armed forces, it is important to give your GP the paperwork that your military medical centre gave you. This includes any medical records. This will help to ensure your military health record transfers to your NHS health record. It will ensure that ongoing care is continued by giving your GP information on your health.

Being flagged as a veteran in your NHS medical notes will help to ensure that you are able to access dedicated services. These include services for mental health and physical health conditions.

‘No disadvantage’

You should not be disadvantaged from accessing appropriate health services. It is important that you notify your current GP if you’re moving, particularly if you’re on a waiting list for medical treatment.

Details of GP surgeries and other health services within your area can be found by using find GP services.

All veterans are entitled to priority access to NHS care (including hospital, primary or community care) for conditions associated with their time within the armed forces.

This is always subject to clinical need and doesn’t entitle you to jump the queue ahead of someone with a higher clinical need.

If the NHS service you’re dealing with is unaware of priority treatment, you’re actively encouraged to tell them about it. You also should ensure you have told them you have served.

Failing that, you can enlist local health care commissioners, your local authority community covenant lead or one of the national service organisations to support you.

Personalised care programme

If you have served in the UK armed forces and have a complex and lifelong health condition, you may be eligible for the veterans personalised care programme. It is based on what matters to you. This means that you can choose how best to live your life and get the right support to do so.

If eligible, you will have a single personalised care plan for all your health and wellbeing needs. A range of organisations can develop this with you. This is including health and social care and military charities.

As part of this, you may get a personal budget to pay for some of the care and support you need. You should also get more support in the community and be able to access a range of help. For example, emotional and practical support from people who have similar health conditions or disabilities.

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