Military Veterans

Burdwood Surgery is a Veteran Friendly Practice

Top Tips for GPs

A veteran is someone who has served in the armed forces for at least one day.

When servicemen and women leave the armed forces, their healthcare is the responsibility of the NHS. It is highly important for continuing healthcare that a veteran registers with an NHS GP and informs the surgery of their military status which may trigger the transfer of your full medical documentation from the Ministry of Defence (MOD) to your GP and enable you to benefit from veteran-specific services, like prosthetics and mental health. You may be asked to give permission for the surgery to request your records from Defence Military 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 (service-related). However, it is always subject to clinical need. It does not entitle you to jump the queue ahead of someone with a higher clinical need. If the NHS service with which you are dealing is unaware of priority treatment, you are encouraged to tell them about your veteran status. You can also receive support from local health care commissioners or one of the national service organisations, e.g. Royal British Legion.

Improving care for severely injured veterans

NHS England hosts the Veterans Trauma Network, which aims to provide specialist care for patients with service-related traumatic injuries.

There are 10 major trauma units in England. The nearest ones to this surgery are at Oxford and London. The network acts as a regional hub for veteran care, linking with NHS veterans mental health services, national centres of expertise and key service charities to provide a complete package of care.

Patients referred to the service have a personalised treatment plan developed and provided by a specialist team of military and civilian experts in trauma. The needs of families and carers are also considered.

More information about the duty of care for service personnel can be found on the internet at The Armed Forces Covenant.