Health Services: Veterans

Ministry of Defence written question – answered on 27th November 2014.

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Photo of Alan Campbell Alan Campbell Opposition Deputy Chief Whip (Commons)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of access to NHS care for veterans.

Photo of Anna Soubry Anna Soubry The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence

Holding answer received on 24 November 2014

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has made no such assessment, since the NHS is responsible for access to care for veterans. The NHS also makes no such assessment as their services are available to all, based on clinical need. The vast majority of Service leavers are fit and well, and no individual who is injured in the course of their duty will leave the Armed Forces until it is right for them to do so, however long that takes. For this reason, when an individual is medically discharged from the Armed Forces, the MOD has a Transition Protocol in place for the effective smooth transition of their health and social care needs to local public providers.

The Transition Protocol was reviewed earlier this year, as part of the House of Commons Defence Committee inquiry into Military Casualties. NHS England and the Devolved Administrations all reported that the Protocol is working well. Any issues which do arise are handled through the Defence Recovery Strategy Group, who are charged with ensuring full compliance with the Protocol.

In addition, the Armed Forces Covenant specifies that veterans should enjoy the same standard of healthcare by the NHS as any other UK citizen in the area where they live, and receive priority, subject to the clinical needs of others, for conditions resulting from Service. The NHS and the Devolved Administrations are signatories of the Armed Forces Covenant, and the NHS in England is mandated to meet this commitment.

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