Veterans: priority NHS treatment

A veteran is someone who has served in the armed forces for at least 1 day. There are around 2.6 million veterans in the UK.

When servicemen and women leave the armed forces, their healthcare is the responsibility of the NHS.

It’s highly important for continuing healthcare that you register with an NHS GP and remember to tell them you have served.

Telling your GP practice 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.

‘No disadvantage’

You shouldn’t be disadvantaged from accessing appropriate health services, so it’s important that you notify us, particularly if you’re on a waiting list for medical treatment, as all veterans are entitled to priority access to NHS care (including hospital, primary or community care) for conditions associated with their time within the armed forces (service-related). But this is always subject to clinical need and doesn’t entitle you to jump the queue ahead of someone with a higher clinical need.

If the NHS service you’re dealing with is unaware of priority treatment, you’re actively encouraged to tell them about it and ensure you have told them you have served.

Failing that, you can enlist your local authority community covenant lead or one of the national service organisations, such as the Royal British Legion, to support you.

For more information on the duty of care owed to service personnel, read the Armed Forces Covenant (PDF, 919kb).

Veterans NHS Wales

Veterans NHS Wales is a specialised, priority service for individuals who have served in the Armed Forces, at any time in their lives, and who are experiencing mental health difficulties related specifically to their military service (information on priority healthcare for other NHS services is available here).

Each Local Health Board (LHB) has appointed an experienced clinician as a Veteran Therapist (VT) with an interest in or experience of military (mental) health problems. The VT will accept referrals from health care staff, GPs, veteran charities and self-referrals from ex-service personnel. The appropriate VT can be contacted by going to their LHB page on this website and using one of the contact methods, including telephone, email or fax.

Appointments will be arranged as close to the veteran’s home as possible in a suitable venue. The service is not able to respond to emergency referrals. Veterans in crisis should contact the Practice or the Out of Hours Service. There is a Psychiatrist on-call at all Accident and Emergency Units.

Alternatively call 24/7 help line: CALL – 0800 132 737.

Following the assessment, the veteran may be offered treatment by the VT or referred on to other NHS teams or departments for further treatment. The VT will also refer to veteran charities for help with debt management, benefits and war pension/armed forces compensation claims as indicated. The service is unable to provide a diagnosis for Armed Forces Compensation Scheme claims.

If you would like to discuss a referral or require further information about the service, please contact Amy O’Sullivan on 029 2183 2261 or admin.vnhswc&

Don’t suffer in silence, contact them now and they can try and help you get on with your life.

For further info see

Veterans’ Gateway 

The Veterans’ Gateway website provides a single point of contact for veterans seeking advice and support.

Veterans’ Mental Health and Support Service Organisations

Information about support services in the local area for veterans.


Woody’s Lodge

Woody’s Lodge aims to provide an inviting meeting space for veterans of the Armed Forces, Emergency Services and Reservists to re-engage with life, their families and their communities. See


The Royal British Legion is at the heart of a national network that supports our Armed Forces community.

The Royal British Legion is the country’s largest Armed Forces charity, with 235,000 members, 110,000 volunteers and a network of partners and charities, helping them give support wherever and whenever it’s needed. Some of the support available includes:

  • Care and Independent Living.
  • Physical and Mental Wellbeing.
  • Financial and Employment support.
  • Veterans' Gateway – Information and Advice (see above).
  • Household Repairs and Adaptations.

For more information see