Definitions of service

Regular Service Personnel serving within the regular forces are on a full-time legally binding contract, the services have the responsibility for their medical, housing and welfare needs, however, the families of serving personnel will be required to register with a NHS GP and Dentist.

The military will access the NHS for specialist referrals and hospital admissions (these will be under pre-arranged contracts/agreements). The military welfare services will also link up with the local authority on a wide spectrum of cases that may arise with service families. Please also note that within the UK all service children access the local authority schools to where their parents are stationed/living.

Reservists are individuals living within the local community who have joined one of the reserve services on a voluntary part-time basis, and therefore do not come under the military medical or welfare services, and remain the responsibility of the NHS and local authority welfare services. 

They will only come under the military medical and welfare services when they are called out for operational service, once taken into full-time service the reservist will have full access to medical and welfare services on the same basis as their regular counterpart, their family will remain within the local community and remain with the NHS and local authority welfare services, however the unit they are serving on operations with and their parent unit will have a welfare responsibility for them, although in practical terms this proves to be quite difficult due to the distribution of the families and their unwillingness to engage with the services. 

On completion of their period of full time service (usually for a 12 month period), they are demobilised, and will return back to the care of the NHS and local authority welfare services, and will not have access to the military medical or welfare services, the exception to this is the Reserve Mental Health Programme (RMHP), however, most reserve units will use the military welfare services to support the reservist and their family where possible.

Regular Reserve
Regular Reservists are ex regular service personnel who on leaving the regular services have a reserve commitment, the length of their reserve commitment will depend on their length of regular service, they will also be classed as veterans. These reservists are subject to call out for operational service, and in a number of cases, they will volunteer to undertake a period of operational service similar to that of the voluntary reserve, and under the same terms of service.

A veteran is an individual who has served as a member of the regular services, voluntary reserve and national service. In some cases ex regular serving personnel will join the voluntary reserve and will serve a number of years as a reservist and may well deploy on operational service. All veterans are reliant on the NHS and local authority welfare services, however there are a considerable number of service charities and organisations set up to help and assist the ex-service community.