Armed Forces Veteran Friendly Accredited GP Practice

We are an Armed Forces veteran friendly accredited GP practice

This means that, as part of the health commitments of the Armed Forces Covenant, we have a dedicated clinician who has a specialist knowledge of military related health conditions and veteran specific health services. This is important in helping ex-forces to get the best care and treatment.

MK City Council has developed a new Armed Forces Support Directory which includes local and national tried and trusted organisations and charities who provide support and services to members of the Armed Forces community.

Armed Forces Veteran Friendly Accreditation – FAQs

What is a veteran? A veteran (or ‘Ex-Forces’) is anyone who has served for at least one day in the UK Armed Forces, whether regular or reserve. Whilst many aspects of health need are the same as the general public, there are sometimes significant differences, particularly in relation to conditions attributable to service life and the impact upon service families. These differences can be reflected in the way in which healthcare is delivered, the range and types of some specific services provided and the long-term impact upon patients and families.

What is the Armed Forces Covenant?

The Armed Forces Covenant sets the following goals with respect to healthcare:

· Members of the Armed Forces community should enjoy the same standard of, and access to, healthcare as received by any other UK citizen in the area where they live

· Personnel injured on operations should be treated in conditions which recognise the specific needs of Service personnel

· Family members should retain their relative position on any NHS waiting list, if moved around the UK due to the Service person being posted

· Veterans should receive priority treatment (subject to the clinical needs of others) in respect of NHS secondary healthcare relating to a condition resulting from their service in the Armed Forces

· Veterans should be able to access mental health professionals who have an understanding of the Armed Forces culture.

This is reflected in the NHS Constitution, which states ‘the NHS will ensure that in line with the Armed Forces Covenant, those in the Armed Forces, reservists, their families and veterans are not disadvantaged in accessing health services in the area they reside’.

The Covenant is an important aspect of our approach to care, especially as the Armed Forces community can be at a disadvantage due to their mobility, and frequent moves etc.

What dedicated NHS services are available to veterans?

Op COURAGE: the Veterans Mental Health and Wellbeing Service

Op Courage is an NHS mental health specialist service designed to help serving personnel due to leave the military, reservists, armed forces veterans and their families.Op COURAGE can help you and your family with a range of support and treatment, including:

· supporting you with intensive emergency care and treatment if you’re in a crisis

· helping you transition from military to civilian life by providing mental health care with Defence Medical Services (DMS)

· supporting armed forces families affected by mental health problems, including helping you access local services

· helping you recognise and treat early signs of mental health problems as well as more advanced mental health conditions and psychological trauma

· helping you to access other NHS mental health services if you need them

· helping you get in touch with charities and local organisations who can support your wider health and wellbeing needs, such as housing, relationships, finances, employment, drug and alcohol misuse and social support

Who will I speak to?

Everyone at Op COURAGE is either from the armed forces community or is experienced in working with serving personnel, reservists, veterans and their families. They understand military life and the courage it takes to speak with someone. They will work with you to make sure you get the right type of specialist care, support and treatment.

Who Op COURAGE can help

To receive help and support from Op COURAGE, you must:

· be a resident in England and have served in the UK armed forces for a full day

· be registered with a GP practice in England or be willing and eligible to register with a GP

· provide your military service number


You can discuss being referred to Op Courage with one of the doctors, or you can self refer to 0300 034 9991 or email . The service will arrange for you to have an assessment, to make sure you get the right care and support.

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. In particular, ‘Op Restore’, the Veterans Physical Health and Wellbeing Service. Op RESTORE uses a network of both civilian and military consultants, along with welfare support from military charities, to support a veteran’s health using a holistic approach. Whilst Op RESTORE cannot shorten NHS waiting times, it seeks to ensure the veteran ‘waits well’ and is seen by the most appropriate clinician for their needs.

Op Restore:

Supports veterans with service attributable physical health conditions, regardless of how long they served for and when they left the Armed Forces.

Is accessed via GP referral. GPs can obtain a referral form by email.

Works with charities to provide a holistic service

To access this service you must:

Have one day of service in the UK Armed Forces

Be living in England

Be registered with a GP in England

Have a physical illness or injury linked to your military Service.

Waiting lists and priority treatment

If you have a health problem not caused by your time in the armed forces, you are likely to go on a waiting list before you can get full treatment from the NHS. This is the usual process for NHS treatment.

If you have a health problem caused by your time in the armed forces, you are also likely to go on a waiting list. However, you may be able to get NHS care quicker than usual through priority treatment for veterans.

Priority treatment is not guaranteed. Getting priority treatment depends on your situation and the nature of the treatment required. This includes:

· if other people have a higher clinical need than you

· the urgency of your treatment

· the type of treatment you need

 If you are ex-forces, please let your GP know to help ensure you are getting the best possible care.

To find out more, ask your nurse or GP.