Policy actions  3 of 3

Armed forces and veterans healthcare

We are committed to ensuring all armed forces personnel serving, and veterans living 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.

All veterans should receive priority treatment for health problems 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 includes Champions for Armed Forces and Veterans, who are responsible for ensuring this policy is implemented.

Armed Forces and Veterans Joint Group

We established the Armed Forces and Veterans Joint Group in 2009 to monitor the progress of commitments relating to the armed forces and veterans community. 

The group includes representatives from a wide range of stakeholders, including the armed forces, veterans' organisations and charities, NHSScotland, and the Scottish Government, and is chaired by the Director-General Health and Social Care/Chief Executive of NHSScotland

Meetings take place annually. We are currently refreshing the group structure and will communicate the membership and remit when this has been agreed. Minutes of previous meetings of the group are available on request.

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, on 24 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 now progressing implementation. 

Throughout this work, 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.