Continuing with our series of articles to help Veterans get the best from the NHS, this month we are focusing on the Armed Forces Covenant and dedicated health services for those who have Served.
When using the NHS, it’s good to be aware of the rights Veterans have in terms of receiving care and treatment. These are part of the health commitments set out in the Armed Forces Covenant, which state that Veterans should:
• receive priority treatment for conditions relating to their time in Service and subject to the clinical needs of others
• be able to access mental health professionals who have an understanding of the Armed Forces
As well as having access to general NHS services, there are a number of health services that are specifically for Veterans. Staff within these services have a specialist understanding of the Armed Forces and many are Veterans or Reservists themselves.
Make sure you tell your GP that you have Served in the Armed Forces so, where appropriate, you can access these services, which include:
Veterans’ Mental Health Transition, Intervention and Liaison Service (VMH TILS)
The VMH TILS is for Armed Forces personnel approaching resettlement (regardless of whether or not you have received treatment before) and Veterans (regardless of when you left the armed forces). Available across England, the service provides a range of treatment, from recognising the early signs of mental health problems and providing access to early support, to providing therapeutic treatment for complex mental health difficulties and psychological trauma. Patients are also provided with help, where appropriate, with employment, reduction in alcohol consumption, and housing and social support. In addition, families and carers are supported to access care and treatment for themselves if required.
To get in touch with your local service, please call:
• 0191 441 5974 if you live in the north of England
• 0300 323 0137 if you live in the Midlands or east of England
• 020 3317 6818 if you live in London or the south east of England
• 0300 365 0300 if you live in the south west of England.
Alternatively, you can be referred to the VMH TILS by a healthcare professional, such as a GP, or a service charity.
Veterans’ Trauma Network
The Veterans’ Trauma Network provides specialist care to Veterans with Service-specific injuries. Veterans benefit from a personalised care plan implemented by top Military and civilian experts in health centres across England. Referrals can be made via your GP at: firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, email Blesma at: email@example.com or tel: 0208 548 7080.
Hearing loss and tinnitus services
If you have acquired hearing loss and/or tinnitus relating to your time in Service, additional support can be funded through the Royal British Legion Veterans’ Hearing Fund. To access the service, ask your GP to refer you to your local NHS audiology department or download an application form via the Veterans’ Medical Funds webpage at:
Mobility equipment support
The Royal British Legion has a Veterans’ Mobility Fund, which provides specialist wheelchairs, orthotic equipment and other mobility related items for Veterans who have a Service-related, serious physical injury and whose needs cannot be met through statutory services. Eligibility for the fund requires the condition to be attributable to Service and typically, applicants will be in receipt of a War Pension or relevant award under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme. To find out more, visit: www.rbl.org.uk/vmf
For more information on NHS healthcare for veterans, search ‘Veterans’ on the NHS Choices website at:
To access previous articles, visit: http://civvystreetmagazine.co.uk/category/supportadvice/nhs-support/