Veterans Scotland Health & Wellbeing Group



The Health & Wellbeing Group

The Health & Wellbeing Groupis the lead within Veterans Scotland on all Health and Wellbeing provision related matters to ensure that the Veterans community in Scotland is well informed on how veterans can access care appropriate to individual needs. The group brings together those member organisations who provide health & wellbeing to veterans in a common forum whose agenda includes:

  • Identify and work together with MOD and the Scottish Government in the field of Health and Wellbeing provision to veterans. 
  • Review current Health and Wellbeing provision against Veterans needs identifying both shortfalls and duplication 
  • Lead on lobbying over adequate funding for Health and Wellbeing.


Veterans health rights

The Armed Forces community is made up of:

  • serving personnel (both Regular and Reserve)
  • their families
  • military veterans
  • the bereaved

In Scotland, there are around 15,000 serving personnel and reservist personnel. It's estimated that the veteran's population, which includes all former national service personnel, is around 260,000 (as of 2014).

Veterans have a number of health rights which are unique to them. To help veterans better understand their rights and the resources available to them, we've compiled a useful list below.

Priority Treatment

Under long-standing arrangements since 1953, war pensioners are given priority NHS treatment for the conditions for which they receive a war pension or gratuity, unless there is an emergency case or another case that demands clinical priority. These priority treatment provisions were then extended to all veterans who have a condition that is likely to be related to their service.

As a result, veterans should receive priority treatment for health problems as a result of service to their country, unless there is an emergency case or another case that demands clinical priority.

Veterans should not be given priority treatment for conditions unrelated to service in the armed forces.

It is recognised that, with much faster access to NHS treatment for all patients, the priority treatment provisions are less significant than they were in the past. However, as set out in the Scottish Government report Renewing Our Commitments (PDF, 967KB) where a person has a health problem as a result of service to their country, it is right that they should get priority access to NHS treatment, based on clinical need.

The Scottish Government and the Ministry of Defence are aware that confusion can arise when “priority treatment” is interpreted as “preferential treatment”. The Scottish Government is working together with MoD and Veterans organisations in Scotland to provide information which clarifies this issue.  Further information is available here on the NHS Inform website.


Carers' Information Pack - Information for carers, friends and families

The Carers' Information Pack gives information to carers about mental illness and where to find support.

It aims to meet some of the basic information needs of carers, family members and friends of people who have been diagnosed as having a mental illness or serious mental health problem.

Information is available on:

Veterans Scotland Groups

If you are looking for information, advice or guidance on any of the pillars, click on the relevant link below:






In his latest report published today (Wednesday April 24), The Scottish Veterans Commissioner has called for a return to the days of more attention, ambition and innovation in meeting the long-term health and social care needs of Scotland’s veterans’ community.

A copy of the report is available here