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Healthcare for armed forces community

The national Armed Forces Covenant sets the following goals for healthcare for Service families and veterans:

  • family members should maintain their relative position on any NHS waiting list, if moved around the UK due to the Service person being posted
  • veterans should receive priority treatment (subject to the clinical needs of others) in respect of NHS hospital treatment relating to a condition resulting from their service in the Armed Forces
  • veterans should be able to access mental health professionals who have an understanding of Armed Forces culture
  • members of the Armed Forces Community should enjoy the same standard of, and access to, healthcare as that received by any other UK citizen in the area they live
  • personnel injured on operations should be treated in conditions that recognise the specific needs of service personnel
  • those injured in service should be cared for in a way which reflects the Nation’s moral obligation. Veterans should be able to access mental health professionals and services who understanding of Armed Forces Culture

Finding a GP

Register yourself and your family with a local NHS GP surgery as soon as possible on leaving Service. Your service medical notes can be requested so that previous health conditions can be recorded. An increasing number of GP practices are accredited as Veteran Friendly by the Royal College of GPs. Such practices will have an increased knowledge and understanding of service life so that they can more fully support you. Many have staff who are military veterans themselves.

Step-by-step guide for service leavers

Finding a dentist

Phone the NHS Devon Dental Helpline on 03330 063 300 to get on a waiting list for a NHS dentist in Plymouth. The phone line provides services for both Devon and Cornwall.

If you have been on a waiting list in another area, let them know. This will ensure that your position on the former list is maintained on the Plymouth one.

There is also an emergency dental service for those in need of urgent treatment and not registered with a dentist:

Plymouth Dental Access Centre, Seven Trees, Baring Street, Plymouth, PL4 8NF.  Phone 0333 0063 300

Health and welfare support

The NHS website provides more information including:

  • waiting lists and priority treatment
  • support for physical health problems caused by service
  • mental health support
  • support for disabled veterans
  • financial support
  • sexual assault and abuse support
  • support for families of veterans

Local care partnerships

A wide range of organisations and groups who help people live happier and healthier lives. More information is available on the Integrated Care System for Devon website.

Mental health and wellbeing

Op COURAGE: The Veterans Mental Health and Wellbeing Service provides help and support through regional teams.

Phone the South West team: 0300 365 2000

The Op COURAGE urgent care and support service is accessible by healthcare referral or self referral by calling NHS 111.

Social prescribing

Plymouth has been included into a national pilot which is planned to start in 2022. More information will be provided once complete. However, Social Prescribing Link Workers work in surgeries alongside GPs. They provide non-clinical support and information to help people access local services, activities and social groups. It is hoped that they will be supported by specialist Armed Forces Community Social Prescribing Link Workers. These are ex-service personnel who understand the specific needs of members of the Armed Forces Community.

Other information

NHS England E-learning guide to Healthcare for the Armed Forces

Plymouth Veterans and Family Hub