Armed Forces Veteran Friendly Practice

Burdwood Surgery is an Armed Forces veteran friendly GP practice

We are delighted to announce that the Burdwood Surgery is an Armed Forces veteran friendly accredited GP practice. We have been awarded the accreditation by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP).

If you are ex-forces, please let your GP or someone at reception know.

Please contact the practice to obtain a copy of our accreditation certificate.

Top tips for veterans

How to get the most from your GP

  1. It is important to register with a GP, rather than wait until you need treatment. If you are not already registered with Burdwood Surgery, please register online.
  2. If you’ve recently left the forces, it is important to give us, as your GP, the paperwork that your military medical centre gave you, including any medical records. This will help to make sure your military health record transfers to your NHS health record. This will also give your GP information on your health and ensure that any ongoing care and treatment is continued.
  3. Regardless of when you left the military, tell us that you’ve served in the UK Armed Forces. This will help us to better understand any military related health conditions that you may have and ensure that you are referred, where appropriate, to dedicated services for veterans.
    This includes the specialist mental and physical health services, Op COURAGE: The Veterans Mental Health and Wellbeing Service and the Veterans Trauma Network.
    When using these services, you will be able to speak to people who:
    • understand the Armed Forces and military life
    • are either from the Armed Forces community or highly experienced in working with serving personnel, reservists, veterans and their families
    • will work with you to make sure you get the right type of specialist care, support, and treatment
    • work closely with a range of organisations and charities, including military charities, to support your wider health and wellbeing needs.
  4. With your agreement, it can sometimes be helpful for your doctor to refer you to Armed Forces charities, such as SSAFA, the Royal British Legion, Combat Stress or Help for Heroes. They can often offer significant help and support, even if they do not all deliver healthcare.
  5. You may be worried about sharing information about your time in the Armed Forces. Please note that the NHS is bound by a confidentiality code of practice to ensure GPs, nurses and other people working within the NHS deliver a confidential service bound by law.

 For more information on what help is available please visit the NHS website.

Armed Forces Covenant Patient Charter

Our commitment to you as a veteran of the UK Armed Forces

The NHS is here to help improve your health and wellbeing and keep you mentally and physically well. It is also here to help you get better when you are ill and, when you cannot fully recover, to stay as well as you can until the end of your life. 

This means that you can expect the following from us, Burdwood Surgery:

  • We will ask all patients if they have served in the UK Armed Forces (as a regular or reservist). If you have, we will note this in your medical record, with your permission.
  • We will ask you to share details of your time in service to help us to assess the best support and treatment for you.
  • The information you share will be kept confidential and we will always speak to you before sharing this with other services you may be referred to.
  • You can make an appointment to see our clinical lead for veteran’s health. This person has a comprehensive understanding of the Armed Forces, health conditions linked to service, and the dedicated support you can access.
  • The NHS has a duty to support the health commitments of the Armed Forces Covenant. This means that you will get priority treatment for any medical condition which has been caused by your service, subject to the clinical needs of other patients.
  • We will let you know what choices are available for your care and treatment and help you to make informed decisions on what to do.
  • Where appropriate and with your consent, we can refer you to dedicated veterans health services.
  • If you need to be seen by another service, we will let them know you’re a veteran and make sure they have an understanding of your health and wellbeing needs, so you don’t have to keep repeating your ‘personal story’. 
  • We can give advice and support to your loved ones who may be affected by your health conditions.
  • We will investigate any issues and complaints that you may have about your care. If you have any concerns about the services we offer, please speak to one of the practice team.

 For To find out more, please speak to our Reception Team, Practice Manager or your GP by contacting us online

Op Courage

The Veterans Mental Health and Wellbeing Service

After serving in the Armed Forces, some people find it hard to adjust.

If you’re struggling with your mental health and wellbeing, Op COURAGE: The Veterans Mental Health and Wellbeing Service is here to help.

Available across England, Op COURAGE has helped nearly 30,000 people since 2017.

Op COURAGE is an NHS service developed with people who’ve served in the Armed Forces and experienced mental ill-health. Everyone at Op COURAGE is either from the Armed Forces or has experience of working with the military community.

Whether you’re due to leave the Armed Forces, are a reservist or have already left the military, Op COURAGE can help.

Your GP can refer you to Op Courage or you can contact the service to make an appointment.

  NHS UK - Mental health support for veterans, service leavers and reservists

  Veterans Covenant Healthcare Alliance

  Combat Stress - Mental Health Services for Veterans

Priority NHS treatment for Veterans

If you have served in the armed forces, please complete our Military Veteran form.

A veteran is someone who has served in the armed forces for at least one day.

When servicemen and women leave the armed forces, their healthcare is the responsibility of the NHS. It is highly important for continuity of care for a veteran to register with an NHS GP. They should also inform the surgery of their military status. This may trigger the transfer of your full medical documentation from the Ministry of Defence (MOD) to your GP and enable you to benefit from veteran-specific services, like prosthetics and mental health. You may be asked to give permission for the surgery to request your records from Defence Military Services.

All veterans are entitled to priority access to NHS care (including hospital, primary or community care) for conditions associated with their time within the armed forces (service-related). However, it is always subject to clinical need. It does not entitle you to jump the queue ahead of someone with a higher clinical need. If the NHS service with which you are dealing is unaware of priority treatment, you are encouraged to tell them about your veteran status. You can also receive support from local health care commissioners or one of the national service organisations, e.g. Royal British Legion.

Improving care for severely injured veterans

NHS England hosts the Veterans Trauma Network, which aims to provide specialist care for patients with service-related traumatic injuries.

There are 10 major trauma units in England. The nearest ones to this surgery are at Oxford and London. The network acts as a regional hub for veteran care, linking with NHS veterans mental health services, national centres of expertise and key service charities to provide a complete package of care.

Patients referred to the service have a personalised treatment plan developed and provided by a specialist team of military and civilian experts in trauma. The needs of families and carers are also considered.

More information about the duty of care for service personnel can be found on the internet at The Armed Forces Covenant.

Information for Military Veterans registering at Burdwood Surgery

When you left HM Forces, you may have been given a medical release form, F Med 133.

If you would like your new GP to access your service medical records, you need to complete the form and send it to the appropriate address at the top of form, F Med 133.

If you were not given the form, please send a signed and dated letter (not email) through the post to the respective armed forces address below stating your consent to the release of your service medical history to:

Burdwood Surgery, Wheelers Green Way, Thatcham, Berkshire, RG19 4YF

You will need to include the following details:

  • Service number, rank/rating, Surname, Forename(s), Date of Birth
  • National Insurance Number
  • Residential address on leaving the service.

Army Personnel Centre
Secretariat Disclosure 3 (Medical)
MP 525 Kentigern House
Brown Street
G2 8EX

Royal Air Force
PMA Medical (RAF)
Room 040, Building 248
RAF Innsworth

Royal Navy/Marines
MDG (N) Medical Records
Institute of Naval Madicine
PO12 2AA