Veterans health rights

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.

Priority treatment

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.

Useful resources

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.

Medical records

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

Armed Forces and Veterans Champions

Every NHS Board and local council has an Armed Forces and Veterans Champion. NHS Board champions are usually senior members of staff who hold overall responsibility for making sure that the priority treatment guidelines are understood and applied in their NHS Board area.

Local authority champions are usually elected councillors who have volunteered to support both veterans and serving armed forces personnel in their area. They can help those who may have questions about accessing services and support.

How can an Armed Forces and Veterans Champion help me?

Champions help to raise awareness about the issues faced by the armed forces community, veterans and their families. Their role is to make sure that government policies are carried out so that veterans' rights are protected. They can help if you feel that the priority treatment policy hasn't been followed in your case. If this is something that affects you, please talk to your GP or another health professional involved in the provision of your treatment or care about your concerns before contacting your local Armed Forces and Veterans Champion.

How to contact an Armed Forces and Veterans Champion

You can find contact details for the NHS Board Veterans Champion in your area below. For a full list of all the Armed Forces and Veterans Champions visit Veterans Assist Scotland.

Please note, the Champion should not be your first point of contact if you need medical information or advice. If you are a veteran and have health problems you would like to discuss, please contact your local GP practice.

 

Prof George Crooks

Organisation
NHS 24
Email
george.crooks@nhs24.scot.nhs.uk

Dr Alison Graham - Executive Medical Director

Organisation
NHS Ayrshire and Arran
Email
alison.graham@aapct.scot.nhs.uk

Mr Warwick Shaw

Organisation
NHS Borders
Email
warwick.shaw@borders.nhs.scot.uk

Dr Adrian Mc Cullough

Organisation
NHS Dumfries and Galloway
Email
a.mccullough@nhs.net

Adrian Dalby

Organisation
NHS Education for Scotland
Email
adrian.dalby@nes.scot.nhs.uk

Ms Mairi McKinley

Organisation
NHS Fife
Email
andrew.murray1@nhs.net

Ms Susan Carr

Organisation
NHS Grampian
Email
susan.carr2@nhs.net

Mrs Julie Murray

Organisation
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde
Email
julie.murray@eastrenfrewshire.gov.uk

Ms Claire Wood

Organisation
NHS Highland
Email
claire.wood32@nhs.net

Mr Craig Cunningham

Organisation
NHS Lanarkshire
Email
craig.cunningham@lanarkshire.scot.nhs.uk

Tracey Gillies - Medical Director, NHS Lothian

Organisation
NHS Lothian
Email
tracey.gillies@nhslothian.scot.nhs.uk

Mr David Miller

Organisation
NHS National Waiting Times Centre Board (Golden Jubilee Hospital)
Email
david.miller2@gjnh.scot.nhs.uk

David Bedwell

Organisation
NHS NSS
Email
david.bedwell@nhs.net

Elaine Peace (Interim Armed Forces Champion) - Executive Director of Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professions

Organisation
NHS Orkney
Email
elainepeace@nhs.net

Mr Simon Bokor-Ingram - Director of Clinical Services

Organisation
NHS Shetland
Email
simon.bokor-ingram@nhs.net

Linda Fox - Referral Governance Manager

Organisation
NHS Tayside
Email
lindafox@nhs.net

Lachlan MacPherson

Organisation
NHS Western Isles
Email
lachlan.macpherson@nhs.net