Seeking help from the NHS

Mind Kind

Mind Kind: Help From The NHS

How forces families can seek help from the NHS


Seeking help from the NHS

A quick reference guide to NHS healthcare in England for the families of serving members of the UK Armed Forces.


  • The NHS provides most health care services for Armed Forces families – visit the NHS website at www.nhs.uk to find out what is available in your local area.  There is also a dedicated section for the Armed Forces community at www.nhs.uk/nhsengland/militaryhealthcare


  • Make sure you register with an NHS GP practice and find an NHS dentist – don’t wait until you are ill or need treatment.  To find a GP or dentist, visit the NHS website at  www.nhs.uk and click on ‘Find a GP’ or ‘Find a dentist’ under the ‘NHS services’ section on the home page. 


The Armed Forces Covenant states that:

  • the Armed Forces community should enjoy the same standard of, and access to healthcare as that received by any other UK citizen in the area they live
  • family members should retain their place on any NHS waiting list, if moved around the UK due to the service person being posted.

It is therefore important to let the NHS services you use know that you are a member of a serving Armed Forces family so this can be included in your patient notes.  

  • If you are moving due to the serving person in your family being posted elsewhere in England, make sure you tell the NHS about this so arrangements can be made, where appropriate, to ensure you retain your relative place on any NHS waiting list you are on and so there is no break in any ongoing medication or treatment that you may be receiving.
  • If you are moving to a different country due to the serving person being posted, discuss any ongoing medication and treatment requirements with your GP or other health professional to ensure arrangements are in place until you have registered with a health care provider in your new location. 
  • For urgent medical advice and care, contact NHS 111 24/7 on free phone number 111.  You can also go to an urgent treatment centre, which is open at least 12 hours a day every day.  Please remember that A&E departments are for genuine life-threatening emergencies.
  • If you have any problems finding an NHS GP or dentist, contact NHS England’s Customer Care Centre on 0300 311 22 33 or email [email protected].
  • To provide feedback (good and bad) or make a complaint, visit www.england.nhs.uk/contact-us/complaint.

In addition to this, please see below for some key health messages during  COVID-19:

  • Dental practices began opening from 8 June, with practices prioritising patients with the most urgent need. If you need help from a dentist, you should contact your dental practice by phone or email, and you will be given advice or offered an appointment if appropriate. For urgent dental care, you can also use the NHS 111 online service.
  • The NHS is encouraging people to attend all regular vaccination appointments to prevent outbreaks of serious diseases and reduce pressure on the health service.
  • Antenatal and new-born baby screening is continuing and pregnant women are encouraged to attend all of their antenatal appointments. Other NHS screening programmes, including breast, bowel, cervical and diabetic eye screening, are starting to be restored following the local postponement of some screening invitations due to COVID-19.

This article features as part of Mind Kind - a week-long series of interviews, videos, case studies, and practical tips and information on mental health and forces families, across BFBS platforms.