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Policy Papers

Improving the Medical Transition Process

In 2018/19, there were 1,869 men and women discharged from the military as a result of their injury or illness.

Almost 40,000 have been medically discharged in the past 20 years, a quarter of whom have been discharged in the 5 years since the drawdown from activity in Afghanistan. This equates to 7 people a day, on average.[1]

This paper sets out the major gaps in the MOD’s current support for those being medically discharged. Help for Heroes is fighting to ensure those gaps are filled and be there for anyone who needs support.

Almost 70% of medically discharged Veterans supported by Help for Heroes said they had a negative or very negative experience of transition following medical discharge from the Armed Forces. Over 60% of respondents felt they did not receive enough support while transitioning out of the Armed Forces.[2]

Therefore, we are calling on the Government to commission an independent review of the medical discharge process, and specifically the support available to wounded service personnel as they transition from the Armed Forces.

Help for Heroes has been supporting ex-service personnel since 2008, many of whom will be living with the impacts and consequences of their injuries for life. We often hear how for many, the medical discharge and transition process was not satisfactory, and they did not feel adequately supported or prepared to re-enter civilian life.

We believe that a smoother transition will improve how well injured Veterans enter civilian life and make them more prepared to lead fulfilling and purposeful lives after leaving the military.

[1] Data gathered from Ministry of Defence publications, Ministerial responses and Freedom of Information requests: 1999-2001 link; 2001- 2003/4 link; 2004/5, link; 2005/6-18/19 link

[2] Results of survey by Help for Heroes conducted between 19th and 30th August 2019 using a sample of 403 Veterans who have been medically discharged from the British Armed Forces and are supported by Help for Heroes


Read the policy paper

40,000 strong campaign

Improving the Quality of Life for Very Seriously Injured Veterans


At least 12 Veterans in the UK are so seriously injured they are in the top tier of the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) for wounded, injured or sick (WIS) Veterans. These individuals need specialist 24-hour care and support. They face a constant battle to make sure their long-term care, rehabilitation and social needs are met, are appropriately funded and expertly co-ordinated. Much of the support and therapy they need is not routinely provided by the NHS or the local authority. Additional financial support is essential if they are to receive the help they need to significantly improve their quality of life.

In many cases these people are the unexpected survivors of conflicts whose lives were saved due to modern medical advances and improvements in battlefield first-aid.  In the past most would have died due to their extensive injuries. Many have survived complex injuries including multiple limb loss, brain injury and serious mental health conditions and will require specialist support through a complex care pathway for the remainder of their lives.

We believe these individuals should be able to go to sleep at night without worrying about their future support needs.

The medical conditions will not change, but the only thing stopping these very seriously injured Veterans from regaining their sense of self-worth, self-esteem and self-confidence to live a purposeful and meaningful life, is funding. Help for Heroes believes that in a civilised society, they deserve it.

We called on the Government to ensure adequate funding for the Integrated Personal Commissioning for Veterans (IPC4V) project.

Read our policy paper

Find out more about our support for the Very Seriously Injured.