Policy actions  3 of 3

Armed forces and veterans healthcare

We are committed to ensuring all armed forces personnel and veterans who serve and live in Scotland are able to access the best possible care and support, including safe, effective and person-centred healthcare.

Our policy recognises the unique circumstances and sacrifices of our armed forces personnel and acknowledges the considerable contribution that they and the veterans community make to civil society in Scotland.

Armed forces personnel and veterans should face no disadvantage in accessing treatment for health issues resulting from service to their country, subject to clinical priority for all patients. We raise awareness of this policy with NHS boards regularly. Additionally, every NHS board has in place a Champion for Armed Forces and Veterans, responsible for ensuring this policy is implemented.

Armed Forces and Veterans Joint Group

The Armed Forces Personnel and Veterans Health Joint Group ('the Joint Group') monitors the progress of commitments relating to the health of the armed forces and veterans community. 

In December 2018, a new structure was put in place for the Joint Group:

  • a Strategic Oversight Group, chaired by the Chief Medical Officer, responsible for progressing the development of policy across Scotland and contribute to the wider UK policy on veterans
  • an Implementation Group, chaired by the National Clinical Director, responsible for putting into practice the high level issues discussed and agreed at the Strategic Oversight Group

Both groups includes representatives from a wide range of stakeholders, including the armed forces, veterans' organisations and charities, NHSScotland, NHS and Local Authority Armed Forces and Veterans Champions and the Scottish Government.

Minutes of previous meetings of the group are available on request by emailing katie.hislop@gov.scot

Improving NHS support for armed forces personnel and veterans

The Scottish Veterans Commissioner (SVC) published his report, Veterans’ health and wellbeing: a distinctive Scottish approach, in April 2018.

The report contains 18 recommendations covering a wide range of issues, including physical health, mental health, governance and leadership. We have accepted all of the report’s recommendations and are progressing implementation of these. In May 2019, the Commissioner published a report containing a RAG (red / amber / green) assessment of progress towards implementation of each recommendation.

Our continuing aim is to ensure that the long-term clinical needs of serving personnel and veterans are better understood and supported within the NHS. 

Support for veterans and the armed forces community: report 2018 accompanies the Minister for Mental Health’s second annual update to Parliament about our support for our veterans and armed forces community in Scotland, made on 27 September 2018.


Send any enquiries regarding healthcare for the armed forces and veterans community to Katie Hislop at katie.hislop@gov.scot.