Veterans' healthcare toolkit

A range of guidance for GPs on the care of patients who have served in the armed forces, and their families.

The Veteran friendly accreditation

We are working with NHS England and NHS Improvement to accredit GP practices as 'veteran friendly'. This programme enables practice to deliver the best possible care and treatment for patients who have served in the armed forces.

Nearly 1,000 GP practices in England are already accredited through this programme. We support these practices to identify and code their veterans, and to appoint a clinical lead who undertakes training and other activities related to veteran healthcare.

We provide accredited practices with an information pack to help increase their understanding of the health needs of veterans, and the services available to them.


Become an accredited practice


Army veterans pin on blazer

Accreditation is voluntary, but is included in the key commitments of the NHS Long Term Plan, which states: β€˜To ensure all GPs in England are equipped to best serve our veterans and their families, over the next five years we will roll out a veterans accreditation scheme in conjunction with the Royal College of GPs.’

Accreditation is currently open to GP practices in England. We are working with the Devolved Nations to extend the programme.

For more information, please email veterans@rcgp.org.uk.

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The Veteran friendly accreditation

Accreditation lasts for three years, and practices must commit to the following:

  1. Ask patients registering with the surgery if they have ever served in the British Armed Forces.
  2. Code it on the GP computer system. We recommend writing it out rather than using Read codes as these vary according to which computer system is used. We recommend that the term 'Military Veteran' is used.
  3. Have a clinical lead for veterans in the surgery. This should be a registered health care professional, but not necessarily a GP – it could be a nurse or paramedic
  4.  This clinical lead is required to undertake dedicated training, attend training events (RCGP or other provider), stay up to date with the latest research and innovations and ensure that the practice is meeting the health commitments of the  Armed Forces Covenant. They should also be available to provide advice to colleagues, as well as possibly seeing veterans themselves.
  5. Eligible practices should have a CQC 'good' rating or higher.

Where appropriate, you may need to refer patients to dedicated NHS services such as the Veterans' Mental Health Transition, Intervention and Liaison service (TILS), the Veterans' Mental Health Complex Treatment Service (CTS) and the Veterans Trauma Network.

To learn more about the experience of being a veteran friendly practice, listen to our podcast. In the podcast, RCGP clinical champion Dr Robin Simpson, accredited GP Dr Matthew Boulter and veteran Ashley Winter discuss the healthcare challenges faced by the veteran population in England and the impact of the accreditation scheme.

Prof Nigel Sparrow OBE, the CQC's former Senior National GP Advisor, signposts the programme in his best practice guidance: Take a look at  Nigel's surgery 93: Caring for veterans and their families.

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How your accreditation helps veterans

As well as being supported to provide the best care to your veteran patients, you will be able to capture better epidemiological data to improve future health provision.

By becoming an accredited practice, you will also ensure that the NHS is better able to meet the health commitments of the Armed Forces Covenant. This states that the Armed Forces community, including veterans, should face no disadvantage in accessing health services and should receive priority care for military attributable conditions, subject to clinical need.

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