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Health

The NHS and veterans’ healthcare information web site is a very useful resource.

All veterans are entitled to priority access to NHS care (including hospital, primary or community care) for conditions associated with their time within the armed forces (service-related). This is always subject to clinical need and doesn’t entitle you to jump the queue ahead of someone with a higher clinical need.

If the NHS service you’re dealing with is unaware of priority treatment, you’re actively encouraged to tell them about it and make sure you have told them you have served.

Failing that, you can enlist local health care commissioners, your local authority community covenant lead or one of the national services organisations, such as the Royal British Legion, to support you.

Physical Health

BLESMA help all wounded servicemen and women who have lost limbs, the use of limbs or eyes, to rebuild their lives by providing rehabilitation activities and welfare support. BLESMA campaigns for veteran’s rights and looks after individuals and their families by offering a comprehensive grants and welfare system. Rehabilitation, support, counselling and care are the four principle foundations of the organisation.

Telephone: 020 8590 1124

For more information, visit the BLESMA website.

Support anyone who has served in the Armed Forces, or who has done National Service, and who is now living with significant sight loss. Help blind ex-Service men and women lead independent and fulfilling lives by supporting them with our in-depth expertise, experience and full range of services.

Telephone: 0800 389 7979

For more information, visit the Blind Veterans UK website.

DMWS is an independent charity providing an independent and confidential medical welfare service to frontline staff whenever they are receiving medical treatment. DMWS Welfare Officers work with patients when their medical needs are being met but when other issues, problems or social influences may be distracting them from their recovery. They provide practical and emotional support to ensure that no family goes through the worry of injury or illness alone. The support is tailored to the individual needs and may include a confidential and impartial listening ear, helping to explain and resolve any medical care issue and referrals to other agencies for support.

For more information, visit the DMWS website.

A charity that offers comprehensive support to those who have suffered life-changing injuries and illnesses while serving our country.

For more information visit the Help for Heroes website.

The Major Trauma Network comprises 22 major trauma centres that act as hubs for trauma; ten of which have been designated as veterans’ trauma centres (VTCs) to coordinate veteran trauma care.

The local centre is in Leeds. The VTN will only deal with problems related to a veteran’s time in service. There will be no ‘fast-track’ treatment of veterans over other NHS patients. A veteran will be prioritised on clinical basis only, just as any other NHS patient.

The veteran’s GP can email a referral to a central email address A patient review will be organised at the most convenient VTC. Following this, a personalised treatment plan is developed and provided by a specialist team of military and civilian experts in trauma. It is recognised that major trauma has a significant impact on families and carers, which is also considered in the package of care offered.

For more information, email the Veterans Trauma Network.

Catterick Garrison is where you’ll find our recovery centre for the North of the UK. The centre is accessible to all wounded, injured and sick personnel and their loved ones. Whether they’re still serving or a Veteran.                                                             

The centre is designed to create a welcoming, supportive and inspirational atmosphere. It’s been purpose-built to give those who have served their country, a second chance at life. The centre’s facilities support the recovery process. These include classrooms and an IT suite, training kitchens, an art room and wood workshop, a gym with specialist equipment and health and wellbeing rooms.

For more information, email Help for Heroes at Catterick.

Telephone: 01748 834148.

Address: Phoenix House Recovery Centre, Richmond Road, Catterick Garrison, North Yorkshire, DL9 3AW


Mental Health

Online mental wellbeing support 24/7. It’s safe, anonymous and has Wall Guides (counsellors) available 24/7. This service is free to serving personnel, veterans and their families.

Telephone: 020 7060 1677

For more information, visit the Big White Wall website.

Provide specialist clinical treatment and welfare support to UK Veterans suffering from psychological injuries.

  • Short Stay Clinical Treatment
  • PTSD  Intensive Treatment Programme
  • Outpatients service
  • Community Outreach  Service.          

If you’re currently serving or have served in the UK Armed Forces, you can call Combat Stress’ 24-hour mental health helpline.

The Reserve Forces Liaison Team helpline is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year:

Telephone: 0800 138 1619

Veterans and their families can call 0800 138 1619

Serving personnel and their families can call 0800 323 4444

For more information, visit the Combat Stress website.

Ex service personnel: Head Start offers ex service personnel access to quality and effective treatments for mild to moderate mental health conditions. To access mental health support, make an appointment with a GP who will be able to submit a referral on your behalf to Head Start. Remember to tell the GP that you have served and that you may be eligible for private therapy under Head Start’s service.

Further information from a member of the Head Start team Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm

Telephone: 01263 863906

For more information, email Headstart.

Veterans Steadfast Support is a local peer to peer support group for former armed service personnel and their families that will allow them to come together and speak about the problems and struggles they face on a daily basis, in a safe and non-judgemental environment.

The group have weekly zoom meetings whilst covid restrictions are in place.

For more information about the group please contact  07594 252259. 

The Right Turn programme provides specialist support for veterans with substance misuse issues and acknowledges the specific experiences of people in the armed forces community. Specially trained Addaction staff provide tailored support alongside veterans who have trained as Recovery Champions to help others through their recovery journey. These Recovery Champions are an inspiration – proving to people who have lost hope that they too can recover and rebuild their lives’

Telephone: 0114 2536830

For more information, visit the Addaction website.

A self-help support network for the adult family members of physically or emotionally injured Service.

The Ripple Pond was set up by two mothers of seriously wounded servicemen who recognised that no similar service existed purely for adult family members, and who found strength and comfort by sharing and supporting each other through such a unique challenge.

Peer-led, self-help groups meet regularly with the main aim of providing a space to express feelings safely, in a non-judgemental environment, where everyone can be heard. The groups are here for mums, dads, spouses, siblings – indeed any adult family member who feels they would like support.

Telephone: 07586 576889 or 07825 296712 or 01252 913021.

Email The Ripple Pond.

For more information, visit The Ripple Pond website.

Mental health triage and assessment for military veterans registered with GPs across Yorkshire and the Humber that are struggling to access and or engage with mainstream mental health services.  

The Veterans’ Mental Health Transition, Intervention and Liaison Service (TILS) is a service to support veterans and their families. The service developed from recognition that military veterans may find it difficult to access traditional NHS services following time spent in a military environment and acknowledges that a stigma still surrounds mental health issues and aims to reduce this by providing more accessible pathways into services.

The service provides a first point of contact for people aged 18 and over and is available to anyone who has left the armed forces after completing one day’s service or more with the British Military, is a Reservist not currently mobilised or a family member of military personnel or a member of the armed forces currently awaiting discharge (in transition).

The team offers mental health assessment by a specialist veterans mental health practitioner who is sensitive to military culture and has good local knowledge. The service aims to provide a thorough assessment to refer veterans onto the most appropriate service to meet their needs. A maximum of six sessions will be provided where appropriate to assist those struggling with transition.

TILS is also the first port of call for a referral to the Veterans’ Mental Health Complex Treatment Service – please see the leaflet on the right of the screen for further information

To access these services, you must meet the following criteria:

•           be a resident in England        

•           have served in the UK armed forces for a full day     

•           be registered with GP practice in England or be willing to register with a GP      

•           be able to provide your military service number or another form of acceptable proof of eligibility

North of England TIL service

Email the Veterans’ Mental Health TIL service.

Address: Veterans’  Mental Health Transition, Intervention and Liaison Service, St Andrew’s Place, 271 St George’s Road, Hull, HU3 3SW

Telephone: 01482 335479

People talk to the Samaritans anytime they like, in their own way – about whatever’s getting to them. You don’t have to be suicidal.

Local Telephone:  01472 353111   

Free Telephone: 08457 90 90 90

Address: Samaritans Grimsby, 55 Alexandra Road, Grimsby, North East Lincolnshire, DN31 1RD

Will arrange to meet people either at their home or elsewhere. They discuss current circumstances and what they can do to improve a person’s situation. They also access specialist services in a local area so that the individual can manage their addiction. They help access services related to mental health, housing, criminal justice, employment and benefits, education and training, and healthcare.

For more information, visit Combat Stress’ Veterans’ substance misuse service website.


Armed Forces Veterans friendly accredited GP practices

GPs are signing up to become ‘veteran friendly’ under a new national scheme to improve medical care and treatment for former members of the armed services that has been backed by NHS England and the Royal College of GPs.

Practices can qualify for veteran friendly status by offering extra support for ex-military personnel who may face additional challenges when they return to civilian life.

To become accredited, GP practices need to:

  • have a lead for veterans’ issues within the surgery.
  • identify and flag veterans on their computer system.
  • undertake dedicated training and attend armed forces healthcare meetings.
  • increase understanding of the health needs of veterans amongst both clinical and administrative staff.

NHS Veterans Aware Hospitals

Veteran Aware hospitals will:

  • Provide leaflets and posters to veterans and their families explaining what to expect
  • Train relevant staff to be aware of veterans’ needs and the commitments of the NHS under the Armed Forces Covenant
  • Inform  staff if  a veteran or their GP has told the hospital they have served in the armed forces
  • Ensure that the armed forces community do not face disadvantage compared to other citizens when accessing NHS services
  • Signpost to extra services that might be provided to the armed forces community by a charity or service organisation in the hospital
  • Look into what services are available in their locality, which patients would benefit from being referred to after a hospital stay.

The veterans aware hospital recognition means that patients who have served in the UK armed forces will be cared for by frontline staff who have received training and education on their specific needs and who can also signpost them to other local support services e.g. Mental Health.

For more information, visit the NHS Veteran Aware Hospitals website.