Armed Forces Veterans
Armed Forces Network Single Point of Contact
The Armed Forces Network for Sussex and Kent and Medway has launched a single point of contact, 01273 403693, to support people, family members and carers of the armed forces community who are serving or have served.
The service, which is available Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, can provide advice, guidance and support on how to use the NHS, advise on veteran-friendly GP practices in the local area, signpost to social prescribing support and more.
NHS care for the Armed Forces community
The NHS is responsible for providing all hospital and most community services for serving personnel (except for mental health, general practice and rehabilitation services). The NHS also provides nearly all community, general practice and hospital services for the families of serving personnel, reservists and veterans. Included as part of this are the following dedicated services and initiatives to support the Armed Forces community.
How to get the most from your GP
- It is important to register with a GP, rather than wait until you need treatment. Visit the NHS website to find details of GP practices in your local area.
- If you’ve recently left the forces, it is important to give your GP the paperwork that your military medical centre gave you, including any medical records. This will help to make sure your military health record transfers to your NHS health record. This will also give your GP information on your health and ensure that any ongoing care and treatment is continued
- Regardless of when you left the military, tell your GP that you’ve served in the UK Armed Forces. This will help your GP to better understand any military related health conditions that you may have and ensure that you are referred, where appropriate, to dedicated services for veterans. This includes the specialist mental and physical health services, Op COURAGE: The Veterans Mental Health and Wellbeing Service and the Veterans Trauma Network.
When using these services, you will be able to speak to people who:
- Understand the Armed Forces and military life
- Are either from the Armed Forces community or highly experienced in working with serving personnel, reservists, veterans and their families
- Will work with you to make sure you get the right type of specialist care, support, and treatment
- Work closely with a range of organisations and charities, including military charities, to support your wider health and wellbeing need
- With your agreement, it can sometimes be helpful for your doctor to refer you to Armed Forces charities, such as SSAFA, the Royal British Legion, Combat Stress or Help for Heroes. They can often offer significant help and support, even if they do not all deliver healthcare.
- You may be worried about sharing information about your time in the Armed Forces. Please note that the NHS is bound by a confidentiality code of practice to ensure GPs, nurses and other people working within the NHS deliver a confidential service bound by law.
NHS mental health services for veterans
The Veterans’ Mental Health Transition, Intervention and Liaison Service (TILS)
The Veterans’ Mental Health Transition, Intervention and Liaison Service (TILS) is for serving personnel approaching discharge from the military, reservists (active and non-active) and veterans with mental health difficulties. The service provides a range of treatment, from recognising the early signs of mental health problems and providing access to early support, to therapeutic treatment for complex mental health difficulties and psychological trauma. Help may also be provided with housing, employment, alcohol misuse and social support.
The Veterans’ Mental Health Complex Treatment Service (CTS)
The Veterans’ Mental Health Complex Treatment Service (CTS) is for ex-forces and reservists (active and non-active) who have military related complex mental health difficulties that have not improved with previous treatment. The service provides intensive care and treatment that may include (but is not limited to) support for drug and alcohol misuse, physical health, employment, housing, relationships and finances, as well as occupational and trauma focused therapies.
Both services are available across England and accessible via the TILS. Individuals can self-refer or ask a GP or military charity to refer them. As part of their service offer, families are supported to access care and treatment where appropriate. Further information is available on nhs website
Op COURAGE: The Veterans Mental Health and Wellbeing Service
After serving in the Armed Forces, some people find it hard to adjust to civvy street. If you’re struggling with your mental health and wellbeing, Op COURAGE can help.
NHS Armed Forces Health Podcast
This six-episode series has been commissioned by the Armed Forces Public Patient Voice Group (AFPPVG).
The aim is to support the armed forces community to understand and navigate the NHS as well as empowering them to become advocates for their own health as a patient or family member of one. The guests are AFPPVG members who have given their time to pass on their expertise and experiences to help others.
The series, which can be downloaded through all podcast apps and channels, covers the following themes: what is the AFPPVG?, military medical experience and leaving, your GP, physical health, mental health, family and children.
Veterans Trauma Network (VTN)
The VTN provides care and treatment to those with a service-attributable physical health condition. Located in 12 major trauma centres (Plymouth, Oxford, London (three centres), Birmingham, Nottingham, Liverpool, Leeds, Cambridge, Brighton and Middlesbrough), with links to five specialist NHS trusts (Frimley Park, Preston, Salisbury, East Grinstead), the network works closely with Defence Medical Services (DMS), national centres of clinical expertise, the TILS and CTS, as well as military charities, to provide a complete package of care. It is run largely by healthcare professionals who are either veterans or serving personnel. GPs can email firstname.lastname@example.org to refer veterans to the service.
Veterans Prosthetics Panel (VPP)
The VPP provides funding on a named veteran basis to NHS Disablement Service Centres (DSC) to ensure that veterans who have service related limb loss can access high quality prosthetics regardless of which DSC they attend. More information is available on the NHS website
Armed Forces personnel in transition: Integrated Personal Commissioning for Veterans Framework (IPC4V)
IPC4V is a personalised care approach for serving personnel who have complex and enduring physical, neurological and mental health conditions that are attributable to injury whilst in service. It provides a framework for effectively planning and delivering personalised care in line with the Armed Forces Covenant. Central to this is an improved discharge planning process, starting approximately nine months before these individuals leave the military. This means that the MOD, health and social care, Armed Forces charities and other organisations involved in the care of these individuals are brought together at an earlier point in the care pathway, ensuring care and support arrangements are in place as they transition to civilian life and beyond.
Personalised care for veterans with a long term physical, mental or neurological health condition or disability
Ex-forces with a complex and life-long health condition may be eligible for the veterans personalised care programme. Eligible individuals will have a single personalised care plan for all their health and wellbeing needs that is developed with them and a range of organisations, including health and social care and military charities. To apply, individuals should contact their local clinical commissioning group.
Veteran friendly GP practice accreditation
Over the next five years, NHS England and NHS Improvement, together with the Royal College of General Practitioners, are rolling out the veteran friendly GP practice accreditation scheme across England. This scheme, which is intended to help ensure practices are equipped to best care for veterans and their families, has already accredited over 770 surgeries.
The Veterans Covenant Healthcare Alliance (VCHA)
The VCHA aims to improve NHS care for the Armed Forces community by supporting trusts, health boards and other providers to identify, develop and showcase the best standards of care. To date, over 40 trusts have been accredited as 'Veteran Aware’, having demonstrated their commitment to eight core manifesto standards, including signing the Armed Forces Covenant, raising awareness of veterans’ healthcare needs among staff, and establishing links with local support providers.
For Further Information
Veteran Patient Charter
Patient charter: our commitment to you as a veteran of the UK Armed Forces
The NHS is here to help improve your health and wellbeing and keep you mentally and physically well. It is also here to help you get better when you are ill and, when you cannot fully recover, to stay as well as you can until the end of your life.
This means that you can expect the following from our practice:
- We will ask all patients if they have served in the UK Armed Forces (as a regular or reservist). If you have, we will note this in your medical record, with your permission.
- We will ask you to share details of your time in service to help us to assess the best support and treatment for you.
- The information you share will be kept confidential and we will always speak to you before sharing this with other services you may be referred to.
- You can make an appointment to see our clinical lead for veteran’s health. This person has a comprehensive understanding of the Armed Forces, health conditions linked to service, and the dedicated support you can access.
- The NHS has a duty to support the health commitments of the Armed Forces Covenant. This means that you will get priority treatment for any medical condition which has been caused by your service, subject to the clinical needs of other patients.
- We will let you know what choices are available for your care and treatment and help you to make informed decisions on what to do.
- Where appropriate and with your consent, we can refer you to dedicated veterans health services.
- If you need to be seen by another service, we will let them know you’re a veteran and make sure they have an understanding of your health and wellbeing needs, so you don’t have to keep repeating your ‘personal story’.
- We can give advice and support to your loved ones who may be affected by your health conditions.
- We will investigate any issues and complaints that you may have about your care. If you have any concerns about the services we offer, please speak to one of the practice team.
To find out more, please speak to our practice manager or one of our GPs or nurses.
If you would like to provide feedback on how we are performing as a veteran friendly GP practice, please let a member of our staff know or you can send your comments to the Royal College of General Practitioners at email@example.com
For information on health services for the Armed Forces community:
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