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Veterans, service leavers, and non-mobilised reservists

Find healthcare and welfare support for veterans, service leavers, non-mobilised reservists, and their family members and carers.

All veterans, service leavers, non-mobilised reservists, and their family members and carers can access a range of specialist healthcare and support created to provide treatment and care for many different problems.

Who counts as a veteran?

You are a veteran if you have served in the UK armed forces for at least 1 day.

Non-mobilised reservists are also regarded as veterans.

If you are a mobilised reservist registered with Defence Medical Services (DMS), find information about accessing NHS healthcare while in active service.

Help for service leavers

During and after your resettlement period, there are a number of actions you can take to help NHS and specialist veteran services support you.

The most important is to register with an NHS GP surgery and let them know you have served in the UK armed forces.

Find more information for service leavers

Support for your health and wellbeing after leaving the UK armed forces

The NHS can support your health when you leave the armed forces. It does not matter if your health needs are a result of your service or not.

GP surgeries are usually the first point of contact if you have a health problem.

They can treat many conditions, give health advice and refer you to other NHS services if needed.

Find more information about NHS services

If you do not live in England

There are similar NHS services available for armed forces veterans living across the UK:

Register with a GP surgery and tell them you served in the UK armed forces

If you have not already, it's important to register with an NHS GP surgery as soon as possible and tell them you served in the UK armed forces so they can add it to your medical record. This includes the:

  • British Army
  • Royal Navy
  • Royal Air Force
  • Royal Marines
  • Merchant Navy

Registering as soon as you leave the armed forces instead of waiting until you need treatment means you may be able to access treatment faster.

When you register with an NHS GP surgery, it's important to give them any information you received from your military medical officer.

This will help your GP to better understand your health, including any health problems related to your service. It will also help make sure you're referred to dedicated services for veterans, where appropriate.

These services include Op COURAGE: The Veterans Mental Health and Wellbeing Service, and Op RESTORE: The Veterans Physical Health and Wellbeing Service.

It can sometimes be helpful to refer you to armed forces charities, who can often offer significant help and support. This will only be done with your agreement.

If you're already registered with a GP but have not told them you served in the armed forces, make sure to let your GP or a member of the practice team know when you next speak to them.

This is important to do because it may be relevant to your health and care, now or in the future. It does not matter how long you served for or when you left the armed forces.

Do not worry about sharing information about your time in the armed forces. GPs, nurses and other people working in the NHS are bound by law to deliver a confidential service.

Veteran friendly GP surgeries and trusts

Some GP surgeries and NHS trusts, such as hospitals and ambulance services, have staff trained to be aware of health problems that veterans might face.

These are called veteran friendly GP practices and veteran aware NHS trusts.

They're designed to better support you with your healthcare in many ways, including:

  • having medical staff with military healthcare backgrounds
  • having staff trained to treat health problems that commonly affect veterans
  • having knowledge of specialist NHS services designed specifically for members of the armed forces

Veteran Aware: Accredited NHS trusts map

Mental health and wellbeing support

Veterans and their families and carers can access dedicated mental health support services run by the NHS and mental health charities.

These include:

Find out more about mental health support for veterans and families

Support for physical health problems caused by service

There are NHS services dedicated to treating and supporting veterans who have physical health problems caused by their time in the armed forces.

Op RESTORE: The Veterans Physical Health and Wellbeing Service

Op RESTORE: The Veterans Physical Health and Wellbeing Service is an NHS service providing specialist care and treatment to veterans who have physical health problems as a result of their time in the armed forces.

It works alongside Op COURAGE: The Veterans Mental Health and Wellbeing Service.

How Op RESTORE can support you

Op RESTORE can support you by:

  • providing personalised treatment within the NHS
  • treating you through military and civilian clinicians who understand the military environment and specialise in the type of physical health problems you have
  • helping families and carers of veterans with physical health problems access appropriate support services
  • working closely with many organisations, including GP surgeries, specialist NHS services, and military and non-military charities
Who Op RESTORE can help

Op RESTORE can support you:

  • if you have a physical health problem of any type or severity
  • if your physical health problem is a result of your time in service
  • if you live and are registered with a GP practice in England
  • no matter when your physical health problem first appeared
  • no matter when you left the armed forces
Accessing Op RESTORE

A GP can refer you to Op RESTORE by emailing

You can be referred even if you were not medically discharged.

Is Op RESTORE the same as the Veterans Trauma Network?

Op RESTORE: The Veterans Physical Health and Wellbeing Service is the new name for the Veterans Trauma Network.

The new name will hopefully make it easier for veterans to get help for their service-related physical health problems.

Integrated Personal Commissioning for Veterans (IPC4V)

Integrated Personal Commissioning for Veterans (IPC4V) is an approach to personalised care for veterans who have a long-term physical, mental or neurological health condition or disability.

Eligible veterans are supported by a personalised care plan they develop and agree together with local health and social care organisations. A range of military charities may also help in some cases.

For further information about personalised care:

Veterans Welfare Service (VWS)

The Veterans Welfare Service (VWS) provides 1-to-1 support to all veterans, and their families and carers.

It's run by Veterans UK, which is part of the Ministry of Defence (MOD).

GOV.UK: Veterans Welfare Service

Support for disabled veterans

There are many different NHS, MOD and charity services dedicated to providing support and treatment to veterans with disabilities.

Disablement Service Centres (DSCs)

If you lost a limb during your service, Disablement Service Centres (DSCs) can offer specialist prosthetic and rehabilitation support.

You can be referred to a DSC during your regular medical treatment if the service will benefit you.

Speak to a GP for more information about DSCs.

Veteran's Prosthetic Panel

If you need to apply for funding for a prosthetic limb, DSCs can apply to the Veteran's Prosthetic Panel on your behalf.

You cannot apply for funding by yourself.

For the application to be considered, you must have either:

  • lost a limb during military service
  • lost a limb due to an injury caused during military service


Blesma offer advice and support to veterans who have lost a limb, the use of a limb, an eye or use of sight during military service.

They work closely with NHS and MOD services for disabled veterans and can refer you to useful services.

They also offer advice on financial benefits and support, as well as helping you find appropriate community groups.

Blesma: Find more information

Blind Veterans UK

Veterans with sight loss can get help and support from Blind Veterans UK.

They offer a range of support, including rehabilitation services, practical advice and emotional support.

Blind Veterans UK: Find more information

Financial support

There are many organisations who offer financial advice and support to veterans and their families or carers.

This includes charities dedicated to supporting the armed forces community.

Veterans UK

Veterans UK is part of the MOD.

They provide free support for serving personnel, reservists, veterans and their families, including:

  • an urgent helpline
  • running the Veterans Welfare Service and Defence Transition Services
  • helping access support from government, local and charity organisations
  • funding compensation scheme payments

GOV.UK: Find more information about Veterans UK

GOV.UK: Contact Veterans UK

Charity support

There are many charities dedicated to providing support, advice and aid for veterans and their families.

Many of these charities provide a range of help, including disability support, rehabilitation, self-help programmes, accessing services and further financial support.

Find more information about charities that can help veterans and their families

Sexual assault and abuse support

If you have been sexually assaulted or abused while in the armed forces or since you left the military, you can get help and advice from NHS services, including sexual assault referral centres (SARCs).

Help after rape and sexual assault

Support for families of veterans

There is a range of support and advice available for families of armed forces veterans and non-mobilised reservists.

This includes services and charities dedicated to helping you with any healthcare and welfare concerns.

Find more information about support for armed forces families

Page last reviewed: 18 August 2021
Next review due: 18 August 2024