Are you a Military Veteran?
In the UK a military veteran is defined as anyone who has drawn one day’s pay from the Armed Forces. This means all personnel, male or female, who have served for one day or more, in any occupation in the Royal Air Force, Royal Navy, or the Army, including Reservists and National Service personnel, and the Merchant Navy if involved in a conflict.
A veteran is therefore not defined by the length, nature of their service, or when they left. They also remain veterans even if discharged from the forces for a serious or criminal breach of the 1955 Army Act.
In the NHS we use the term ‘veteran’ to describe ex-forces who are entitled to priority access under the UK Military Covenant, the UK Government's promise of a duty of care to British armed forces.
If you might be struggling with your health and need support, please book an appointment to see a GP, or have a look at this leaflet as a start point: Military Veteran leaflet
- Are you a Military Veteran? Tell Us
- Armed Forces Covenant - Help us to prioritise your care
- Military Veterans Form
- How can the NHS help if you are a Veteran?
- Mental Health Support
Tell us whether you have served in the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Army or Royal Air Force and if you have members of your family who would also benefit from additional support.
Telling the surgery that you have served in the Armed Forces is important because it can help us to prioritise and expedite (bring forward) your treatment. This is especially important if referrals need to be made by a GP to other NHS organisations, if you need ongoing care for example.
If you are a new patient to Testvale Surgery, we have changed our registration forms to include questions about being a military veteran. If you complete the new patient registration form, then simply return it to the front desk;
If you are an existing patient, then you can visit the front desk and ask for a Military Veteran form. Simply complete this and return it to the front desk and this will be added to your medical record.
The Armed Forces Covenant is a promise from the nation that those who serve or have served in the armed forces, and their families, are treated fairly. The covenant’s 2 principles are that:
- the armed forces community should not face disadvantage compared to other citizens in the provision of public and commercial services; and
- special consideration is appropriate in some cases, especially for those who have given most such as the injured and the bereaved
This means that in certain circumstances, military veterans may be able to access priority treatment from the National Health Service. For more information, see the following link:
Telling us about your veteran status will trigger the transfer of your full medical documentation from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to your GP, and enable you to benefit from veteran-specific services like prosthetics and mental health.
If you want to complete and either post or hand in the Military Veterans Form, then please download, complete and return the form below:
To find out about how NHS Healthcare works, hospital care for Veterans, Mental Health services and support for military families, please click on the link below:
Mental Illness can be common amongst veterans and can affect anyone (including serving and ex-members of the armed forces and their families). Whilst some people cope by getting support from their family members and friends, others may feel benefit from seeking support from NHS, Support Groups or Charities. For further information, please see the information leaflet below:
Veterans Mental Health, Transition, Intervention and Liaison Service (TILS) - Veterans TILS service
Mental Health Services for Veterans - Mental Health Services for Veterans
Testvale Surgery has a Military Veteran Clinical Lead, Dr Rebecca Ferriman.
Dr Ferriman coordinates Veteran’s Health training for our doctors and nurses and supports how we can improve the care for our veterans and their families. Dr Ferriman has a family member currently serving in the armed forces.
Our Care Navigator has spent some time putting together information about local services in the Totton area for Military Veterans. This information can be found below:
One good start point is the Royal British legion “Pop-In” Centre in Southampton, details of which can be found here (scroll down to Southampton Pop-In Centre, under the South East section)
The group meets at 104, Above Bar Street, Southampton SO14 7DT between 10am and 4pm Monday to Friday:
If there is any additional information or other services which you know about locally, please let us know as we can add it to the website so others can access the information.
There is a huge amount of support for Veterans and their families. Some good start points for support are:
- The Veteran’s Gateway – Veterans Gateway This website provides invaluable information for veterans including information, advice and support from healthcare and housing to employability, finances, personal relationships and more;
- Royal British Legion: British Legion This website provides a host of financial and employment support, pop-in groups, access to recovery centres and breaks, as well as connections to other military veterans locally;
- Help for Heroes – Help for Heroes This website gives access to a wide range of support services for veterans including recovery programmes, mental health and well-being advice, welfare and financial support as well as sporting and active lifestyle advice; and
- Blesma - The limbless Veterans BLESMA This website provides information and advice to veterans who have lost a limb, in areas such as support officers, group activities, grants, benefits, employment and financial support;
- Gov.uk website: Veterans UK; This website gives support for veterans, access and applications for pensions and signposting for help and support;
- Ministry of Defence: MOD Service Leavers and Veterans; This website signposts to Veterans UK, Veterans Welfare Service and for Travel Support;
Alternatively, there is a huge range of additional information held on veteran specific services, charities and organisations which can be found here:
Tell us what more we can do?
The practice has started to focus on how we improve care for our military veterans and their families and so far, we have:
Nominated a GP lead for military veterans
Set up a military veteran page on our website
Improved the way we identify military veterans and their families through our new patient registration forms;
Put messages about veteran’s health on our TV screens and JayEx Board in the waiting rooms;
Set up a Military Veteran notice board in our waiting room;
Held meetings with Blesma and Help for Heroes; and
Set up a Military Veteran training seminars to raise awareness with our doctors and nursing staff.
However, there is much more we would like to do, so if you do have any ideas about how we can improve our care for Veterans or their Families, then please let Chris Gwyther, our Practice Manager know.