Information for Veterans

For healthcare purposes, we define a veteran as:

“Anyone who has served for at least one day in HM Armed Forces (Regular or Reserve) or who has served in Merchant Navy Seafarers and Fisherman on a vessel at a time when it was operated to facilitate military operations by HM Armed Forces.”

There are just under 2.5 million British Armed Forces veterans in the UK. Around 90% are male and 60% are aged 65 and over.

At Albany, we understand that the healthcare needs of veterans can be different from those of other patients, as service in the Armed Forces is different than other occupations. Apart from the obvious uncertainties and dangers, service people give up some of their own civil liberties and put themselves in harm’s way to protect others.

Around 18,000 service people move back into civilian life every year. Around 2,000 will leave on medical grounds – the most common reasons for medical discharge relating to the back, knees, mental health, and hearing.

Albany Surgery is an accredited Veteran Friendly practice, which means that we’re committed to giving the best possible care and treatment for patients who have served in the Armed Forces.

To find out more about Veteran Friendly GP practice accreditation and what this means for our patients and for the surgery in more detail, please visit this site (click here).



What will the surgery do?

We are committed to upholding the Armed Forces Covenant which states:

“Veterans receive their healthcare from the NHS and should receive priority treatment where it relates to a condition which results from their service in the Armed Forces, subject to clinical need.

Those injured in service, whether physically or mentally, should be cared for in a way which reflects the nation’s moral obligation to them whilst respecting the individual’s wishes. For those with concerns about their mental health, where symptoms may not be present for some time after leaving service, they should be able to access services with health professionals who have an understanding of Armed Forces culture.”

We will endeavour to give all our patients the opportunity to tell us if they are a veteran, and to give our patients as much information as we can on their healthcare rights as a veteran.

If you are a veteran and we need to refer you for treatment for a condition that has come about as a result of your service, with your permission we will specify in your referral information that you are a veteran and should receive priority treatment. This is subject to clinical need – so other patients who have an extremely urgent need for referral will be prioritised first.

If you would like to know more about support for veterans in the local area, we encourage you to contact our Health and Wellbeing Team who can to put you in touch with the groups or services that suit you best. If you would like to find out more about how your local community can support you as a veteran:

  • Speak to a member of the surgery’s Patient Care team who can refer you to our Health and Wellbeing team
  • You can self-refer by sending an email to:

Please also take a look at the resources provided at the bottom of this page.

What should I do?

For the surgery and secondary care services to provide you the best care we can, it’s important that we know if you are a veteran.

If you are about to register at Albany, you will be able to tell us on your registration form and provide more information (if you’ve recently left the forces, it is important that you give your medical records to the surgery so we have an up-to-date picture of your healthcare history and can make sure any ongoing care and treatment keeps going).

If you are a current patient, you can contact us at any time by:

  • Calling us on 01626 334411 and passing on this information to the Patient Care team
  • Sending us an email (
  • Dropping a letter into our letterbox

Resources and Support

Veterans and Reserves Mental Health Programme

The Veterans and Reserves Mental Health Programme is a Ministry of Defence (MoD) specialist service that provides mental health assessments and treatment advice for veterans and reservists. It works closely with the NHS and DMS to provide appropriate treatment.

You can usually only access this service if a GP refers you to it. Ask your GP about a referral if you feel your time serving in the armed forces has affected your mental health.

GOV.UK: Veterans and Reserves Mental Health Programme

Op COURAGE – The Veterans Mental Health & Wellbeing Service

Op COURAGE is an NHS mental health specialist service designed to help serving personnel due to leave the military, reservists, armed forces veterans and their families.

For southwest area call 0300 365 2000 or email

Royal British Legion


Local Branch Contact:

The Royal Marines Charity

Offering lifelong support to the Royal Marines Family – Once a Royal Marine, always a Royal Marine.” Overview of their support services:

Health and Wellbeing enquires: 0800 468 1664.


Help for the ex-forces community with mental health, civvy street transition, support to older veterans, social care, advice and housing, disability support.

Local Branch: 01392 254 611


Mental Health Support for Veterans


Contact: 0333 987 5055.

 Combat Stress

If you need to talk to somebody, Combat Stress have a dedicated mental health support helpline for veterans and their families.

This provides confidential advice and support and is free to call for veterans, family members and carers.

This helpline is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year on 0800 138 1619.


Togetherall is a mental health support service that provides:

  • anonymous, round-the-clock online support with trained counsellors
  • a supportive community, including forums for safe conversation
  • free resources to help you improve your mental health

All armed forces serving personnel, reservists, veterans and their families can access these services at any time.

Veteran’s Gateway

Offers a 24/7 phoneline, and acts as a first point of contact for welfare needs including housing, finances, employment, physical and mental wellbeing.