NHS announces specialist health support for veterans

NHS leaders have confirmed that specialist health support for veterans is to be made available in every part of the health service.

There are around five million members of the armed forces community in the UK, and around 15,000 people leave the service each year.

NHS England said the commitment will ensure that those who have served get the best care from their GP, local hospital or specialist services.

Every part of the country now has dedicated mental health services available for veterans, while 25 hospitals and trusts have become the first to be accredited “Veteran Aware”.

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “We are incredibly proud of our Armed Forces and it’s our duty to ensure veterans receive the very best possible care for both their physical and mental health needs.

“Veteran Aware Hospitals will help provide integrated care and a single source of advice to veterans on the support available to them and I want to see this initiative rolled out across the country.”

Kate Davies, NHS England’s Director of Armed Forces, said: “Our armed forces and our NHS are rightly a source of immense pride for our country, and we’re committed to delivering a health service fit for former troops and their families.

“Remembrance Day gives us the chance to reflect on those who have bravely fought for our country and offers an important opportunity to remind them that there is always help available.”

Defence Minister Tobias Ellwood said: “We are making huge strides in the way we care for veterans who may be struggling with mental health.

“Today’s announcement that our veterans can access specialist healthcare across the NHS is a fantastic milestone and will have a major impact on those who so bravely served this country.

“I urge all health services across the country to follow suit of the accredited hospitals and become Veteran Aware.”