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Veterans' healthcare

Priority NHS care for veterans

A veteran is someone who has served in the armed forces for at least one day. There are around 4.6m veterans in the UK.

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

All veterans are entitled to priority access to NHS hospital care for any condition as long as it's related to their service, regardless of whether or not they receive a war pension. 

All people leaving the armed forces are given a summary of their medical records, which they are advised to give to their new GP when they register. 

If you no longer have a copy of the summary of your health record you can apply for one via the Requests for personal data and service records page on GOV.UK. 

Veterans are encouraged to tell their GP about their veteran status in order to benefit from priority treatment. 

If you're moving to a new location in England or returning from a posting abroad you need to make sure you register with a GP.

Details of GP surgeries and other health services within your area can be using Find GP services.

You shouldn’t be disadvantaged from accessing appropriate health services so it's important you notify your current GP that you are moving particularly if you're on a waiting list for medical treatment so that this information can be transferred across. It is also important to notify your new GP of the situation.

A minority of people leaving the armed forces need access to mental health services, while others might require it later in civilian life. Find out more in Veteran's mental health.

For more information on the duty of care owed to service personnel, read the armed forces covenant


The 6 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

biglad1957 said on 22 August 2014

I read the other reviews and I also informed my doctor that I was ex forces and would I get an appointment to see a specialist faster she just looked at me and said no. I told her that it was what I was entitled to and was told there was no such entitlement that she new of.

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oldgunner said on 18 August 2014

I served from 1969 to 2003, have just visited my doctor who is unaware that veterans have any priority, so why do the government lie? Of course they may not have communicated the policy to the NHS or the NHS is not bothering to impliment.

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ging15 said on 28 July 2014

why lie to us veterans my GP could not care less that i gave 24 years service for our country.waste of time

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winkie said on 18 June 2014

Can anyone answer...
How does Engalands veterans health care compare with the USA

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Forgotten Few said on 26 September 2012

I find it unbelievable that all those veterans that served Prior to 1982 are not within MAP. This is deplorable, especially as we believed in our country and fought for and defended it.
Guess as a friend called me the other day = One of the "Forgotten Thousands", I thought it quite funny then, but now after reading these pages, I believe it to be disgusting that our country has forgotten us and what we did in defending our country. It is about time someone remembered those that served back in the 50's onwards, plus included these, of which I myself am one.

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DebW said on 09 May 2010

I think it would be beneficial for practices/surgeries to be more aware of the MAP, and to pick up on the fact that an individual is a veteran from their history, as many would not think to state this on registration following departure from the Armed Forces. This would enable the GP to refer the individual to MAP, who would hopefully be more understanding than the 'run of the mill' counsellors that may not be able to support the individual in getting to the root of the problem - military personnel become very adept at 'blocking things out', which has a detrimental affect later on in life, particularly when integrating back into civvy street.

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Page last reviewed: 30/04/2014

Next review due: 30/04/2016