It is important to register with a GP, rather than wait until you need treatment.
How to get the most from your GP practice
- If you have 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, it gives your GP information on your health and ensures that any ongoing care and treatment is continued.
- Regardless of when you left the military, tell your GP that you’ve served in the 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, when appropriate, to dedicated services for veterans. This includes the specialist mental and physical health services, Op COURAGE: The Veterans Mental Health and Wellbeing service.
- 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 needs
- 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.
For more information
Can I get help for mental health issues, including post-traumatic stress disorder?
- Yes. There are treatments available to help people cope with the psychological consequences of exposure to traumatic events, including trauma-focused cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
- The NHS and other partners can deliver these services for anyone who needs them, and they also have services specifically aimed at helping veterans.
Can I get financial support for my medical needs?
- If you’re a war pensioner who needs medical treatment or care because you were disabled while serving in the armed forces during war, you should seek advice and help from Veterans UK and the Veterans Welfare Service. You may also be able to get help from the Royal British Legion.
- If you need items like a stairlift, bathroom adaptations or personal alarm system they can also help you apply for these.
Where can I get information about ex-service nursing homes?
- The Ex-Services Homes Referral Agency (ESHRA) has a database of all ex-service nursing, convalescent and respite care homes in the UK.
- You may also be able to get help from the Royal British Legion.
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