Many veterans have physical illnesses.
Most veterans’ injuries and illnesses can be dealt with using routine NHS referral pathways. There is a policy (Welsh Health Circular WHC (2017) 41.) authored by Welsh Government that details guidance on priority treatment for war pensioners for any conditions which are likely to be related to their service.
GPs have been asked to consider if, in their clinical opinion, the condition may be related to the patient’s military service. Priority treatment ONLY applies to conditions which are related to veterans’ service. Where this is the case, and with the patient’s agreement, it should be made clear in the referral. You can refer your GP to this policy here http://www.veteransuk.info/vets_issues/healtcare.htm
Within every health board in Wales, an independent Board Member is identified to act as an Armed Forces & Veterans Champion. It is the responsibility of the Armed Forces & Veterans Champion to advocate on behalf of veterans and service personnel.
Champions for veterans and Armed Forces have been established in every health board and NHS Trusts in Wales. They advocate for veterans and Service personnel to ensure their needs are reflected in local service plans. Champions are non-Executive LHB members and are supported by a lead Executive Director in their role.
A list of Armed Forces and Veterans Champions can be found on the Welsh Government website.
- There is special provision available for some specific physical problems that can affect veterans, such as: NHS Wales Prosthetic and Amputee Rehabilitation services are delivered by three specialist centres-
Enhanced prosthetic services for veterans with a forces-attributable injury living in Wales will match the leading technology of services provided by the MOD.
- The Royal British Legion provides support to veterans with hearing loss and tinnitus and those with mobility difficulties. Information is available on the Veterans’ Medical Funds webpage: www.rbl.org.uk/vmf
Veteran Trauma Network
The Veterans Trauma Network Wales (VTN Wales) has been established to ensure that ex-Service Personnel who suffered physical injury as a result of their service, can access the timeliest and most appropriate care for their injuries following discharge from the Armed Forces.
Most veterans’ injuries can be dealt with using routine NHS referral pathways. However, the severity or unusual nature of some combat injuries means that veterans sometimes need specialist input that may not be available in their health board.
VTN Wales provides a central service to assist individuals, healthcare professionals & the third sector with relevant advice on appropriate referral pathways if ongoing support is required and can assist with securing appropriate funding where cross-border referral is necessary. The network consists of a collaboration of specialist clinicians with relevant expertise who have an interest in providing veterans’ care.
Referrals to the network can be made by GPs, other clinicians, and third sector organisations when there is an unmet need for specialist assessment or treatment for physical conditions relating to service in the Armed Forces.
If you are a veteran with complex physical needs arising from your time in service, you should be able to receive all the care you need through the usual NHS channels, including your GP and specialists at your local hospital.
If you are concerned that you need more specialist input, you can discuss with your doctors whether your case should be referred to the VTN.
We strongly encourage you to engage with the VTN via your medical team, as it is only through them that the VTN will be able to understand your case.
However, you are free to contact the VTN directly if you feel unable to do this.