Healthcare for the armed forces community

Yealm Medical Centre is a veteran-friendly GP practice. This means that we have staff trained to be aware of the health problems that veterans might face so that we can provide better support.

You are a veteran if you have served in the UK armed forces for at least 1 day. Non-mobilised reservists are also regarded as veterans.

If you are a registered patient with us, please let us know if you have served in the armed forces. This will help your GP to better understand your health. All veterans, service leavers, non-mobilised reservists, and their family members and carers can also access a range of specialist healthcare and support created to provide treatment and care for many different problems.

For more information on healthcare for the armed forces community, see the following resources:


NHS services

Op COURAGE: The Veterans Mental Health and Wellbeing Service

Op COURAGE provides specialist mental health and wellbeing support for Service leavers, reservists, veterans and their families who can self refer or ask a GP, charity or someone else to refer them. For further information on Op COURAGE, visit www.nhs.uk/opcourage

Op RESTORE: The Veterans Physical Health and Wellbeing Service

Op RESTORE: The Veterans Physical Health and Wellbeing Service is an NHS service providing specialist care and treatment to veterans who have physical health problems as a result of their time in the armed forces. Referral is via your GP.

Veterans Trauma Network (VTN)

The VTN is the first NHS veterans’ physical health care pathway, providing care and treatment to those with a service-attributable healthcare problem. The VTN works closely with Defence Medical Services, national centres of clinical expertise and Op COURAGE, as well as military charities to provide a complete package of care. It is run largely by healthcare professionals who are either veterans or serving members of the Armed Forces. Referrals are made by the GP.


Charity services

Veterans’ Gateway

The Veterans’ Gateway is made up of a consortium of organisations and Armed Forces charities, including The Royal British Legion, SSAFA, Combat Stress and Connect Assist. It is a main point of contact for veterans seeking support, putting them and their families in touch with the organisations best placed to help with the information, advice and support they need – from healthcare and housing to employability, finances, personal relationships and more. For more information, visit the Veterans’ Gateway website. https://www.veteransgateway.org.uk/


Contact is a group of charitable, support and state organisations that have joined forces to enhance mental health support available to the Armed Forces community. The partnership consists of Big White Wall, Cobseo, Combat Stress, Help for Heroes, The Royal British Legion, Walking With The Wounded, the NHS, the MOD, the UK Psychological Trauma Society and King’s College London. Contact aims to improve collaborative care management, increase instances of help-seeking behaviour, improve service provision, encourage best practice across the sector and improve public knowledge of what support is available and how best to access it. For more information, visit https://contactarmedforces.co.uk/.

Help for Heroes

Help for Heroes provides direct, practical support for wounded, injured and sick service personnel, veterans and their loved ones from any conflict. They have four recovery centres in the UK offering medical care, guidance, support and advice. Patients can self-refer or be referred by a professional. Once referred, an initial assessment will take place within one to two weeks and there is no waiting list for treatment. For further information, visit https://www.helpforheroes.org.uk/.

Combat Stress

Combat Stress is the UK’s leading mental health charity for veterans. It provides free specialised clinical treatment and support to ex-servicemen and women across the UK with mental health conditions. Combat Stress has a strategic partnership with the MOD and the Department of Health and Social Care. Visit https://combatstress.org.uk/ for more information. It has a mental health helpline, available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year – call 0800 138 1619.


Blesma offer advice and support to veterans who have lost a limb, the use of a limb, an eye or use of sight during military service. They work closely with NHS and MOD services for disabled veterans and can refer you to useful services. https://blesma.org/

Ministry of Defence services

Veterans Welfare Service (VWS)

The Veterans Welfare Service (VWS) provides 1-to-1 support to all veterans, and their families and carers. It's run by Veterans UK, which is part of the Ministry of Defence. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/veterans-welfare-service