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Healthcare for people injured in the Armed Forces and veterans

About this information

This information applies to:

  • people who used to serve in the Armed Forces (veterans), including reservists. This includes people who are serving in and veteran members of the Territorial Army, Royal Naval Reserve (RNR), the Royal Marines Reserve (RMR) and the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (RAFVR)
  • the dependants of veterans.

If you have health problems which were caused by your service in the Armed Forces, there is help available for you.

You can use this information to find out about the help available to you, depending on your situation. You can also find out about other organisations that may be able to help you further.

Help from the NHS

If you have health problems that were caused by your service in the Armed Forces, you should be able to get priority treatment from the National Health Service (NHS).

This means that you will be treated before someone else with the same level of medical need. If there is someone with a greater medical need they will receive treatment before you. You should tell your GP or hospital you are a veteran before you tell them anything else. They will decide what priority treatment you need.

You can get help from the NHS by going to see your GP.

In England and Wales, you can also contact NHS Direct for advice.

You can find more information about NHS Direct in England on their website at: www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk.

You can find more information about NHS Direct in Wales on their website at: www.nhsdirect.wales.nhs.uk.

Or you can call them on 0845 4647.

In Scotland, more information about NHS support for veterans is available on the NHS website at www.nhsinform.co.uk.

In Scotland, you can also contact NHS 24 for advice.

You can find more information about NHS 24 on their website at: www.nhs24.com, or you can call them on 111.

In Northern Ireland, you can contact the out of hours service. You can find the number for your area on the government website at: www.nidirect.gov.uk.

You can find more information about finding and registering with a GP on Adviceguide.

If you have mental health problems

If you are having mental health problems because of what happened to you during your time in the Armed Forces, it is important to get help. You can get help from:

Specialist clinic

If you are a veteran suffering from a condition like anxiety, depression, alcohol or drug misuse or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), you can get help from a specialist clinic.

A specialist clinic can give you a mental health assessment and treatment in a community-based clinic. The clinics are located in Stafford, Camden and Islington in London, Cardiff, Newcastle, St Austell in Cornwall and Scotland. The treatment is free of charge and the Ministry of Defence (MOD) will pay for your travel costs to your nearest clinic.

You can get treatment from a specialist clinic by getting a referral from your GP.

You can also contact the specialist clinics directly. You can find more information about the clinics, and their contact details, online at: www.veterans-uk.info.

The Veterans and Reserves Mental Health Programme

The Veterans and Reserves Mental Health Programme (VRMHP) provides mental health assessments for veterans and reservists who been deployed since 1982 and are experiencing mental health problems as a result of military service.

A full mental health assessment is carried out by a consultant psychiatrist followed by guidance on care and treatment. You can be referred by your GP or you can contact them directly at:

DCMH Chilwell
Chetwynd Barracks
Chilwell
Nottingham
NG9 5HA

Freephone helpline: 0800 0326258
Email: DPHCE-DCMHCHL-VRMHP@mod.uk

If you or your GP need further information about VRMHP, contact the freephone helpline. The programme pays users travelling expenses and overnight accommodation if needed.

Combat Stress

Combat Stress is a charity which provides help and medical care for veterans with mental health problems. They can offer free long term specialist help and support for veterans with mental health problems.

Combat Stress have national community outreach services. These are delivered by nurses, welfare officers and mental health practitioners. Combat Stress also have residential centres where veterans can stay for a short time and receive specialist treatment. These centres are in Shropshire, Surrey and Ayrshire.

You can find more information about Combat Stress on their website at: www.combatstress.org.uk.

You can find out more about Combat Stress, and the help and support they offer by phoning them. You can find the number of your local support desk through their website at: www.combatstress.org.uk.

Telephone head office: 01372 841 600
Email: contactus@combatstress.org.uk.

Reservists

This information applies to serving personnel and veterans of the Territorial Army, Royal Naval Reserve (RNR), the Royal Marines Reserve (RMR) and the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (RAFVR).

If you have served as a Reservist in the Armed Forces, and you have mental health problems that may be linked to your service, you may be able to get help from the Reserves' Mental Health Programme (RMHP).

The RMHP is available for anyone who has done active service as a reservist since 1 January 2003. This includes both regular and volunteer reservists.

You can find more information on the RMHP on the army website at: www.army.mod.uk.

You can get help from the RMHP by asking your GP to refer you. You can also contact them directly by phoning 0800 032 658.

Aftercare (Northern Ireland)

Aftercare is a charity in Northern Ireland which provides medical, vocational, welfare and benevolence support to former full-time and part-time UDR and Royal Irish (HS) soldiers and their families. They have four field teams based in Coleraine, Holywood, Portadown and Enniskillen.

You can find more information about Aftercare on their website www.aftercareservice.org or you can telephone the field teams directly:

North (Coleraine) 02892 260615
East (Holywood) 02890 420266
West (Enniskillen) 02892 260114
South (Portadown) 02892 260044

You can find more information about finding and registering with a GP on this website.

If you were forced to leave the Armed Forces because of serious injury

If you have been injured to the extent that you've had to leave the armed forces, you will qualify for help from the welfare section of Veterans UK.

They can help with things like:

  • your finances
  • finding work
  • finding somewhere to live.

Their contact details are:

Helpline: 0808 1914218
Website: www.veterans-uk.info.

The war pension scheme

If you have health problems because of being in the Armed Forces before 6 April 2005, you can claim a war disablement pension under the war pension scheme.

You can also claim under the war pension scheme if you were a widower or child of someone who died because of their service in the Armed Forces before 6 April 2005.

War Pension Scheme benefits can be paid on top of the Armed Forces Pension Scheme 1975 (AFPS 75) or Armed Forces Pension Scheme 2005 (AFPS 05) pension.

For more information about the AFPS 75 or AFPS 05, see Pension and compensation schemes for the Armed Forces, veterans and their families.

Extra allowances

If you get a war pension, you may also be entitled to extra allowances or get help with medical treatment and care if you can't get this on the NHS.

For more information about what you can claim how to apply, see the Veterans UK website at: www.veterans-uk.info.

For more information on financial support available to Armed Forces veterans, serving members of the Armed Forces and their families, see Benefits and concessions for the Armed Forces, veterans and their families.

The Armed Forces Compensation Scheme

If you have health problems because of being in the Armed Forces from 6 April 2005 onwards, you may be able to claim financial help from the Armed Forces.

If you get compensation in the form of a single lump sum payment you will receive this even if you remain in the Armed Forces. Regular monthly compensation payments will only be paid to veterans.

For more information about the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme, see Benefits for people injured in the armed forces in Benefits for people who are sick or disabled.

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) also have a leaflet about the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme and how to claim. You can find this on the MOD website at: www.mod.uk PDF .

You may also be able to claim compensation for injuries that happened during your active service. You may be able to get this if the MOD have been negligent, and if you claim within three years of finding out about the negligence. For more information about compensation and personal injury, see Personal injuries.

Further help

Local authorities

If you've been injured or are disabled and need everyday help, or help for things such as adaptations to your home, you may get this from your local authority.

In England, you can find out more about the help available to you from your local authority on the directgov website. Go to: www.direct.gov.uk.

In Wales, you can find out more about the help available to you from your local authority. To find a list of local authorities in Wales, and links to their websites, go to: www.wales.gov.uk.

In Northern Ireland, to find out more about the help available to you from your local Health and Social Services Trust, go to: www.nidirect.gov.uk.

Veterans UK

If you are disabled, the welfare service of Veterans UK can offer advice and support to help you adapt to your disability. For more information go to: www.veterans-uk.info, or phone the Helpline on: 0808 1914218.

The British Limbless Ex-Service Men's Association (BLESMA)

If you have lost a limb, use of a limb or an eye, the British Limbless Ex-Service Men's Association (BLESMA) provides help and support such as counselling, advice and grants.

BLESMA
185 – 187 High Road
Chadwell Heath
Romford
Essex
RM6 6NA
Telephone: 0208 590 1124
Fax: 0208 599 2932
Email: headquarters@blesma.org.uk
Website: www.blesma.org.uk

Blind Veterans UK

If you are blind or visually impaired you can contact Blind Veterans UK for help with benefits, housing and retraining. The charity can help you if you served in the Armed Forces at any time, including National Service, and if you have sight impairment or blindness for any reason.

Blind Veterans UK
12 – 14 Harcourt Street
London
W1H 4HD

Telephone: 0207 723 5021
Fax: 0207 262 6199
Email: contact form on the website, at www.blindveterans.org.uk
Website: www.blindveterans.org.uk

Scottish War Blinded

If you live in Scotland and are blind or visually impaired, you can contact Scottish War Blinded. The charity provides leisure and social activities and may provide an outreach service in your area.

Scottish War Blinded
PO Box 500
Gillespie Crescent
Edinburgh
EH10 4HZ
Telephone: 0131 229 1456
Email: enquiries.warblinded@royalblind.org.uk
Website: www.royalblind.org.uk

NHS Direct - England and Wales

NHS Direct are available to provide health advice and information for people in England and Wales 24 hours a day, every day.

In England and Wales, you can also contact NHS Direct for advice.

You can find more information about NHS Direct in England on their website at: www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk.

You can find more information about NHS Direct in Wales on their website at: www.nhsdirect.wales.nhs.uk.

Or you can call them on 0845 4647.

Veterans NHS Wales

Veterans NHS Wales main aim is to improve the mental health and well-being of veterans. It is working to establish sustainable, accessible and effective services that meet the needs of veterans who live in Wales.

You can find more information about Veterans NHS Wales on their website at www.veteranswales.co.uk

Or you can call them on 029 2074 2062 (Mon-Fri 8-3.30).

Or email Sharon.bowles@wales.nhs.uk or neil.kitchiner@wales.nhs.uk

NHS 24 - Scotland

NHS 24 is available to provide health advice and information for people in Scotland 24 hours a day, every day.

You can find more information about NHS 24 on their website at: www.nhs24.com.

Or you can call them on 111.

NHS Inform - Scotland

The NHS Inform website has information on specific NHS support for veterans in Scotland. You can find the information on their website at: www.nhsinform.co.uk

Armed Services Advice Project – Scotland

The Armed Services Advice Project (ASAP) offers free, confidential, impartial information, advice and support on a wide range of subjects, including healthcare, to the Armed Forces Community in Scotland. This community includes people who are serving, those who have served (whether regular or reserve), and their dependants and members of the Merchant Navy (and their dependants) who served in a commercial vessel in support of certain UK military operations.

To get in touch you can:

Patient Advice and Support Service (PASS) - Scotland

The Patient Advice and Support Service (PASS) is an independent service which provides free, accessible and confidential advice and support to patients, their carers and families about NHS healthcare. They can help you if you want to complain about NHS services, for example not being able to get priority NHS treatment as a veteran.

You can find more information about PASS on the Patient Advice and Support Service website at www.patientadvicescotland.org.uk.

Out of hours service - Northern Ireland

The doctor out of hours service is there for people who need urgent medical treatment that they would normally receive from their GP, but who cannot wait until the practice is open the next day. You can find the number for your area on the government website www.nidirect.gov.uk.

More information for the Armed Forces, veterans and their families

For more education information, see Help with training and qualifications for people leaving the Armed Forces and veterans.

For more financial information, see Benefits and concessions for the Armed Forces, veterans and their families.

For more housing information, see Housing options for people leaving the Armed Forces, veterans and their families.

For more pensions information, see Pension and compensation schemes for the Armed Forces, veterans and their families.

In England, for more information about health, see our Health section.

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