When you become a Veteran Friendly practice, you gain access to a range of guidance for GPs on the care of patients who have served in the Armed Forces, and their families.
Other services available to veterans
Veterans' Gateway is for any ex-service personnel and their families looking for advice or support, 24 hours a day. It is the first point of contact to a network of military and non-military partner organisations to help veterans and their families find exactly what information, advice and support they need, when they need it - across key areas from physical and mental health to employability, housing, finances, personal relationships and more. For more information, visit the Veterans' Gateway website or call 0808 802 1212.
Veterans First Point - Scotland
Veterans First Point drop-in services are available across Scotland and were developed by veterans for veterans. This offers a “One Stop Shop” for help and assistance to veterans, and their families, no matter what that need might be, including physical or mental health issues, housing, socialising, education, employment and other issues. For further information visit the Veterans First Point website
Contact is a group of charitable, support and state organisations that have joined forces to enhance mental health support available to the Armed Forces community. The partnership consists of Big White Wall, Cobseo, Combat Stress, Help for Heroes, The Royal British Legion, Walking With The Wounded, the NHS, MOD, UK Psychological Trauma Society and King's College London. Contact aims to improve collaborative care management, increase instances of help-seeking behaviour, improve service provision, encourage best practice across the sector and improve public knowledge of what support is available and how best to access it. For more information, visit the Contact website.
Cobseo, as the Confederation of Service Charities, offers membership to charities who promote and further the welfare and general interests of the Armed Forces community, subject to fulfilling the membership criteria. Comprising 255 members, Cobseo provides a single point of contact for interaction with the Armed Forces community. For more information, visit the Cobseo website.
Help for Heroes
Help for Heroes provides direct, practical support for wounded, injured and sick service personnel, Veterans and their families. No matter when or where someone served, the charity offers the help they need, if necessary for life. They have four recovery centres in the UK that offer a wide range of services, including, but not exclusive to, psychological wellbeing, clinical support and sports recovery.
Alongside this they also offer two further services: Hidden Wounds and The Veterans Clinical Liaison Service (VCL).
The Help for Heroes Hidden Wounds service is a Step 2 IAPT guided self-help model supporting ex-service personnel, their family members and the families of serving personnel. Weekly sessions are delivered by psychological wellbeing practitioners using bespoke workbooks and practical tools and techniques to help individuals better understand and positively manage their emotions.
The service is suitable for those exhibiting low to moderate symptoms of depression, anxiety, stress, anger and excessive alcohol use, using evidence-based CBT interventions that have proven to be effective for a wide range of people. Support is delivered by phone, Skype or face to face. The service also works with the NHS, other charities and Armed Forces health networks to ensure the most appropriate care pathway for their beneficiaries. Beneficiaries can self-refer or be professionally referred. For further information, visit the Help for Heroes website.
The Veterans Clinical Liaison (VCL) Service acts as a point of contact for those with serious complex injuries and long terms health issues and focuses on holistic clinical support to improve an individual's quality of life. The VCL nurses engage and empower Help for Heroes beneficiaries to optimise their clinical status in partnership with statutory (NHS and social care) and voluntary organisations. Beneficiaries can self-refer or be professionally referred. For further information, visit the Help for Heroes website.
Combat Stress is the UK's leading mental health charity for veterans. They provide free specialised clinical treatment and support to ex-servicemen and women across the UK with mental health conditions. Combat Stress has a strategic partnership with the MOD and the Department of Health and Social Care. This enables them to work directly with NHS mental health trusts and Armed Forces health networks to develop services suitable for military veterans. For further information, visit the Combat Stress website.
Supporting Wounded Veterans
Supporting Wounded Veterans (SWV) understands the impact pain can have on a veteran and their family. They offer an online “review” with a Consultant in Pain Medicine who is also a veteran. This discussion considers the options that may be available for the management of pain. Following their discussion, they are sent a letter which, with their permission, will be copied to their family doctor; at no point do they become SWV “patient”.
One option available is attending the SWV online Veterans’ Pain Resilience Programme; designed by veterans, for veterans. They also have links to a NHS Veterans’ Opioid Weaning Service.
Blesma supports limbless veterans to lead independent and fulfilling lives. Blesma is dedicated to assisting serving and ex-service men and women who have suffered life-changing limb loss or the use of a limb, an eye or loss of sight. They support these men and women throughout the UK and provide centralised assistance to those living overseas.
Blesma works closely with the NHS to ensure the latest advances in the relevant medical fields are converted into practical solutions that can benefit all of their members. They do not provide members' prosthetics, but they do help prosthetists develop their skills at undergraduate and PhD level. For further information, visit the Blesma website.
Hearing loss and tinnitus services
If a patient has acquired hearing loss and / or tinnitus relating to their time in service, additional support can be funded through the Royal British Legion Veterans' Hearing Fund. To access the service, patients can be referred by their GP to their local NHS audiology department or an application form can be downloaded from the Veterans' Medical Funds webpage.
ATS & WRAC Association Benevolent Fund
The ATS & WRAC Association Benevolent Fund awards one-off and recurring financial grants to purchase specific goods, services or facilities for eligible former servicewomen, or their dependents, in need. The charity also provides annual maintenance grants to former servicewomen who are either elderly, alone, living on low incomes or in ill health, and makes contributions to top-up care-home fees. Any former ATS or WRAC servicewoman, including TA, with one day’s paid service or more prior to 1992, is eligible for assistance. All cases must be referred through the local branch of SSAFA or regional Royal British Legion (RBL) office. SSAFA or the RBL who will arrange for a trained caseworker to interview the applicant in their home to establish the full range of assistance needed. Please see ATS & WRAC Association Benevolent Fund website or contact 0300 400 1992 for more information.
The Poppy Factory’s employment service
The Poppy Factory provides a dedicated employment service for ex-Forces patients across England and Wales, to which GPs and other health professionals can refer directly using a simple web-based form. The role of meaningful employment or training in a patient’s recovery can be significant and in 2021-22, nearly 200 ex-Forces patients were referred through the NHS, representing 35% of all referrals. Regular assessments showed that 64% reported increased health and wellbeing. The Poppy Factory’s consultants have expertise working with ex-Forces personnel with mild, moderate and complex mental and physical health conditions and will support veterans with challenges relating to mental or physical health and stability issues such as housing, finances or relationships. They can connect patients to other specialist services and work at whatever pace is right for the individual.
The Poppy Factory welcomes referrals from GPs and other health professionals. A simple referral form can be found online at The Poppy Factory Referral Registration.
Bravehound - Scotland
Bravehound provide companion dogs to veterans and then provide support for both the dog and veteran over the dogs’ life. They aim to support a smooth transition back into civilian life, helping ex-service personnel adjust to living with the visible
Breathing Space - Scotland
Breathing Space is a free and confidential phone line (0800 83 85 87), aimed at people experiencing low mood or depression. It provides a safe and supportive space by listening, offering advice and information.