The armed forces community is made up of:
- serving personnel (both regular and reserve)
- their families
- military veterans
- the bereaved
In Scotland, there are around 15,000 serving personnel and reservist personnel. It's estimated that the veteran's population, which includes all former national service personnel, is around 260,000 (as of 2014).
To help veterans better understand their rights and the resources available to them, we've compiled a useful list below.
Under long-standing arrangements (since 1953), war pensioners have been entitled to receive priority NHS treatment for the conditions for which they receive a war pension or gratuity, unless there is an emergency case or another case that demands clinical priority.
As a result, all veterans should receive priority treatment for health problems they have sustained as a result of service to their country, unless there is an emergency case or another case that demands clinical priority.
However it is important to note that priority treatment is not preferential treatment and does not apply for conditions that are unrelated to service in the armed forces. All NHS healthcare is provided on the basis of clinical priority.
It is recognised that, with much faster access to NHS treatment for all patients, the priority treatment provisions are less significant than they were in the past. However, as set out in the Scottish Government's Renewing Our Commitments paper where a person has a health problem as a result of service to their country, they should get priority access to NHS treatment, based on clinical need.
Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS)
The AFCS can be accessed by any veteran or serving personnel with a service-related condition or injury on or after 6th April 2005 regardless of whether it occurred in connection with hostilities.
The AFCS can be claimed while in active service.
More about the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme
War Pension Scheme (WPS)
The WPS includes the War Disablement Pension and can be accessed by any veteran with a service-related condition or injury before 6th April 2005 regardless of whether it occurred in connection with hostilities.
The WPS can only be claimed after discharge.
More about the War Disablement Pension
Veteran Welfare Service (VWS)
The VWS is provided by Veterans UK to support veterans, and their dependants, eligible to claim for the AFCS or War Disablement Pension. Help and guidance can be given through either telephone contact or dedicated visiting service.
Find out about the Veteran Welfare Service on the Veterans UK website, or find relevant contact details throught the GOV UK website.
The Service Personnel and Veterans Agency became part of the VWS in 2014.
All armed forces personnel on leaving the services are offered an F Med 133 proforma summarising significant medical history, immunisation and screening status and current medication, for onward transmission to their civilian GP.
Requests for personal data and service records of veterans will be provided by the Ministry of Defence on completion and return of the relevant forms. You must supply proof of identification when returning these forms. Records can be supplied to a healthcare provider on receipt of the veteran’s signed consent.
On registering with a GP in Scotland the registration form allows you to record that you have served in the armed forces. This can help your GP obtain your service medical records and can help in the provision of your healthcare. However, it is your choice as to whether or not you wish to be identified as a veteran in your NHS medical records.
Further advice and support
The following sites provide a wide range of information and services for veterans:
- Veterans Assist Scotland is an online resource to help personnel and their families leaving the armed forces, veterans in need of support and members of the public looking for information on veterans organisations in Scotland
- The Armed Services Advice Project (ASAP) is a service delivered by Citizens Advice Scotland to provide dedicated information, advice and support to members of the armed forces community in Scotland. You can call their helpline for free on 0808 800 1007 (Monday to Friday, from 9.00am to 5.00pm)
- The Veterans Gateway provides information, advice and support for veterans and their families