The Ex Service / Veterans Health – Guidance for General Practices, 2023 provides detail of the duty on all general practices in Wales to provide care, signpost to and/or refer to relevant services where appropriate any veteran or veteran family member registered with the practice.
A veteran is commonly defined as
Anyone who has previously served in the UK Armed Forces, both regular Forces (including National Service or the Home Guard) or Reserve/ Auxiliary Forces, the Mercantile Marines in hostile waters; the Allied Civil Police Forces; full-time, in uniform for a Volunteer Aid Society in direct support of the Armed Forces; or as a British subject serving under British command in the forces of an allied nation.’ (Royal British Legion, 2014)
The healthcare needs of Serving members of the Armed Forces are generally met by military general practitioners (GPs) in their respective service (i.e. Royal Navy, Army, Royal Air Force), and would therefore not usually register with a GP as an everyday civilian.
Once an individual leaves the Armed Forces and becomes a veteran, they will then need to register with a general practice to access primary healthcare services, alongside their family.
All Armed Forces veterans are entitled to receive priority access to NHS care (including hospital, primary or community care) for any conditions (mental and physical) which are likely related to, or resulting from their military service (service related).