Priority NHS Healthcare for Veterans
Under long-standing arrangements, war pensioners
in England, Scotland and Wales have been given priority NHS treatment for
the conditions for which they receive a war pension, subject to clinical need
This provision has now been extended to all veterans where a person has a
health problem as result of their military service. They no longer need first
to have applied and become entitled to a war pension.
How the process works
When referring a patient who they know to be a Veteran for secondary (more
specialist) care, GPs have now been asked to consider if, in their clinical
opinion, the condition may be related to the patient’s military service.
Where this is the case, and with the patient’s agreement, it should
be made clear in the referral.
Where secondary care clinicians agree that a veteran’s condition is
be Service-related, they have been asked to prioritise veterans over other
patients with the same level of clinical need. Veterans will not be given
priority over other patients with more urgent clinical needs. It is for the
clinician in charge to determine whether a condition is related to Service
and to allocate priority.
Except in exceptional circumstances, the extension does not apply to anyone
who had already been referred to treatment or who was already undergoing treatment
before the new arrangements came into effect. To prioritise them could affect
other people who have already received dates for appointments.
Compensation Scheme Payments
It is important to note that a veteran who has a disorder recognised as qualifying
for priority treatment, does not then automatically fulfil the criteria for
an award of a war pension or Armed Forces Compensation Scheme payment. Veterans
given priority treatment are encouraged to contact the Veterans-UK helpline
on 0800 169 2277 to discuss eligibility under the schemes.
Veterans who are not war pensioners do not have the same access to free
prescriptions that war pensioners receive.
Veterans are able to use the NHS complaints system in the same way as war
pensioners, to resolve any breakdowns in the arrangements for priority
For more information on the implementation of priority treatment
for Veterans in each country, click on the links below.
England: click here
Scotland: click here
Wales: click here
Updated: 23 May 2008