NHSE is responsible for providing all hospital and most community services for Service personnel (except for mental health, general practice and rehabilitation services). NHSE also provides nearly all community, general practice and hospital services for families, Reservists and Veterans. Included as part of this are the following dedicated services that support Service personnel approaching discharge from the military;

Op COURAGE

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.

Everyone at Op COURAGE is either from the Armed Forces community or is experienced in working with community, they understand military life and the courage it takes to speak with someone. They will work with you to make sure you get the right type of specialist care, support and treatment:

  • supporting you with intensive emergency care and treatment if you’re in a crisis
  • helping you transition from military to civilian life by providing mental health care with Defence Medical Services (DMS)
  • supporting Armed Forces families affected by mental health problems, including helping you access local services
  • helping you recognise and treat early signs of mental health problems as well as more advanced mental health conditions and psychological trauma
  • helping you to access other NHS mental health services if you need them, such as finding an NHS talking therapies service and eating disorder services
  • helping you get in touch with charities and local organisations who can support your wider health and wellbeing needs, such as housing, relationships, finances, employment, drug and alcohol misuse and social support

Op COURAGE (nhs.uk) >

Op COMMUNITY – Armed Forces Community Support

One of the newest NHS services is Op COMMUNITY, a support helpline where the Armed Forces community, including Armed Forces families, reservists and veterans, can telephone or email to have their health and care queries answered.

Run by local NHS Integrated Care Board’s, Op COMMUNITY provides a single phone number and email address for the Armed Forces community living in each local area to call if they have a medical enquiry and are not sure where to go. People calling into the helpline will be signposted to the most appropriate NHS or community service available in their area.

The helpline can assist with:

  • Liaising with other organisations to make sure any existing care taking place in one area, is transferred quickly and efficiently to another area to provide continued care and support.
  • Providing advice, guidance and support on how to use the NHS, including registering with a GP, especially Veteran Friendly accredited practices.
  • Directing callers to the people and community organisations that can best help with their enquiries such as social prescribing and the large range of military charities available.

This is particularly important for mobile service families and those transitioning from military to civilian life. Op COMMUNITY is being rolled out across England over the next year in the following areas and can be contacted using the details below:

NHS Sussex ICB and NHS Kent & Medway ICB

NHS Hertfordshire & West Essex ICB

NHS Humber and North Yorkshire ICB

NHS Dorset ICB

NHS Leicester, Leicestershire & Rutland ICB

NHS North Central London ICB

NHS Bath & NE Somerset, Swindon & Wilshire ICB

Op RESTORE: The Veterans Physical Health and Wellbeing Service

The Veterans Trauma Network (VTN) is now called Op RESTORE: The Veterans Physical Health and Wellbeing Service. The decision to rename the VTN, Op RESTORE, was informed by engagement with veterans, providers and charities, with the aim of supporting improved access to and awareness of this service. Whilst there are some things that the NHS will not be able to restore in full, we aim to support veterans restore their health and quality of life as best we can.

Op RESTORE is a service for anyone who has served at least one day in the UK Armed Forces and, as a result of their service, acquired a significant, lasting physical illness or injury. Op RESTORE will continue to accept only GP referrals; GPs can obtain a referral form by emailing [email protected].

Op RESTORE (nhs.uk) >

Additional NHSE services for the Armed Forces community

Other NHSE dedicated services and initiatives to support the Armed Forces community, primarily Veterans, include;

  • Personalised care for veterans with a long term physical, mental or neurological health condition or disability take this out as its for clinicians and authorities
  • Veteran friendly GP practice This scheme, which is intended to help ensure practices are equipped to best care for veterans and their families, has already accredited over 1800 surgeries.

Armed Forces personnel in transition: Integrated Personal Commissioning for Veterans Framework (IPC4V)

IPC4V is a personalised care approach for serving personnel who have complex and enduring physical, neurological and mental health conditions that are attributable to injury whilst in service. It provides a framework for effectively planning and delivering personalised care in line with the Armed Forces Covenant.

Central to this is an improved discharge planning process, starting approximately nine months before these individuals leave the military. This means that the MOD, health and social care, Armed Forces charities and other organisations involved in the care of these individuals are brought together at an earlier point in the care pathway, ensuring care and support arrangements are in place as they transition to civilian life and beyond.