Welcome to Scotland – a guide for Service personnel and their families in Scotland (updated 2022)

Provides practical information to service personnel and their families on topics such as housing, education, healthcare and employment.


Healthcare in Scotland is provided by Scotland’s public health service, NHSScotland.

NHSScotland consists of 14 regional NHS Boards who are responsible for the protection and improvement of their population’s health and for the delivery of frontline healthcare services. You can find more information on NHSScotland at

Access to Healthcare

You will need to register and inform your new General Practice (GP) that you need to be re-referred rather than a new referral. It is important you find out where you are on the list before your move.

When settled in a place of residence in Scotland you and your family should register with a local doctor – a GP. Your GP will be able to care for your health conditions and to provide treatment if you become unwell. Any prescriptions prescribed by your GP are free of charge. You can find more information at

Members of the UK Armed Forces and family members should have any previous NHS waiting times taken into account when moving to a new location, including to Scotland. The expectation is that treatment in your new location will be met within the waiting time standards and Treatment Time Guarantee and according to clinical need.

Registering with a Dentist

You and your family can get care, advice and treatment from NHSScotland to keep your mouth, teeth and gums healthy. Scotland also provides free dental checks. You can find a dentist near you using the links at

NHS Eye Care

Scotland is the only country in the UK to provide free universal NHS-funded eye examinations. These are available to anyone ordinarily resident in the UK and to eligible overseas visitors. In some cases, the NHS will also give an optical voucher towards the cost of glasses or contact lenses.

Connecting Communities

The Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (The ALLIANCE) is a third sector organisation which helps connect people with local sources of support that will enable them to manage their own health conditions more effectively. See

Mental Health

NHSScotland provides mental health services that offer a range of treatments and self-help advice for those experiencing mild, moderate or more complex mental health problems.

The first point of call for accessing NHS care is usually your GP. You can discuss any issue with your GP who can also arrange referral to more specialist services if that is necessary. You can find more details regarding support and services at

Breathing Space

Breathing Space offers free and confidential advice for people experiencing low mood, depression or anxiety, whatever the cause. They can be contacted on 0800 83 85 87, 6pm to 2am Monday to Thursday and 6pm Friday through the weekend to 6am Monday. Calls to Breathing Space are free from landlines and from mobile networks. You can also access which provides a wide range of information and advice about coping with low mood, depression and anxiety


Across Scotland, the Veterans First Point (V1P) Centres provide a one stop shop – easy access support service for veterans and their families in Scotland. Support is focused on practical issues (financial, employment, housing), as well as on mental health and wellbeing (social drop-ins, wellbeing programmes, therapy).

V1P Centres are run by the NHS and staffed by veteran peer support workers and therapists who understand military life and veterans. Centres can be found in Lothian, Fife, Tayside, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire and the Borders. To find out more or to access support call 0131 220 9920 or email

Combat Stress

Combat Stress provides a range of community, outpatient and residential mental health services to veterans with complex mental health problems.

The helpline is available 24 Hours a Day, 365 days a year and provides free, confidential advice for veterans and carers, the website also contains a broad range of Self Help Resources

Contact Details: Website:

Helpline Phone 0800 1381619 Text 07537 173683


Support and Social Care

The Scottish Government is working in partnership with service users, carers, Local Authorities, NHSScotland, Integration Authorities, the Care Inspectorate and the voluntary and independent sectors to integrate health and social care services across Scotland. You can find all information in relation to Scotland’s social care at

NHS Champions

Each NHS Board has a Armed Forces and Veterans’ Champion, who has volunteered to support veterans in their area who may have health-related concerns or issues.

Find your local NHS Champion:

Sexual Health/Family Planning Clinics

NHSScotland provides free sexual health services in Scotland. You can access professional and non-judgmental care on all family planning conception information, relationships and sexual health advice at or you can also visit your local GP.

Parent Club Scotland

Parent Club offers up-to-date guidance from the Scottish Government on your child’s health and education. It’s full of hints and tips from other parents and carers who’ve been there before. It also has advice to help you look after your own wellbeing and to point you in the direction of the support available.

Scotland’s Baby Box

Every baby born and living in Scotland is entitled to a Baby Box. This is an opt-in scheme, and expectant parents register to receive their box via their midwife, at approximately 20 weeks.

Further information on Scotland’s Baby Box can be found via the Scottish Government’s Parent Club Website at, or via your health professional.

In an Emergency

NHS 24 is Scotland’s telephone service providing health advice 24 hours a day. The telephone service allows people who feel unwell or those caring for them to obtain health advice if it is not possible to wait until they can visit their GP when the practice is next open. You can call them on 111 if you are ill or need any health services. Alternatively you can also access their website at

The advice line is not intended as a substitute for obtaining an emergency ambulance service. For all life-threatening emergencies you should still call 999.

You will find more information on all health-related topics including dental care, smoking, alcohol, food and nutrition and mental wellbeing on NHS inform’s website at



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