Physical Health

Physical Health

We have collated the below information for you when it comes to your physical health:

1. Accessing Medical Records

The following information provides details about how to access your NHS Medical Records. If you are currently waiting for or undergoing treatment, taking regular prescription medications or are on a waiting list for a referral, and you are due to be moving soon, perhaps because of a Service posting, speak to your current GP, Consultant or healthcare provider and ask if they can provide you with a summary of your medical records which you can then pass to your new GP when you register. This may save time whilst they are waiting for your full medical records to be transferred.


There are two types of medical record you can ask to see: 

  •  medical records held by a healthcare provider that has treated you; 
  • a summary care record (SCR) created by your GP. 


Visit the NHS website to find out more. 


Did you know that you can also register online with your GP surgery, in England, which will allow you to view a lot of your GP records, book appointments and request prescriptions? 


You should contact your GP practice manager or hospital health records manager if you would like more information about how your records are stored.  


NHS Wales in partnership with the Informatics Service is bringing in a number of ways to view records electronically while still ensuring information is safe and secure. You can also find out more how patient details are handled. 

Northern Ireland

Health and medical records will be held about you at your GP surgery, or in a hospital if you have had any appointments or treatment there. You should be able to request to see your records, though there may be a cost.  

2. Assisted Conception

Details about the current Assisted Conception Services and Fertility Preservation procedures in place for serving personnel and their spouse/partners can be found in 2021DIN01-020, which was updated in February 2021. This DIN can be accessed via the MOD Intranet system and provides guidance for Armed Forces Personnel initiating, accessing and/or continuing Assisted Conception Services (ACS) or Fertility Preservation (FP). We would recommend that you read through this DIN before making any decisions or undertaking any medical treatment.

In vitro fertilisation (IVF) is one of several techniques available to help people with fertility problems have a baby. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has published fertility guidelines that make recommendations about who should have access to IVF treatment on the NHS in England and Wales.

If you are considering IVF, you may want to have a look at the NHS website and the Fertility Network UK as they provide a lot of useful information.

Defence Fertility Network

If you are considering assisted conception, or are currently going through the process, there is support available to you. The Defence Fertility Network is a group for UK Military individuals and couples to engage with others that have been on a fertility journey or are currently doing so. This isn’t a medical group and no official medical advice will be given. It is an opportunity for individuals and couples to recognise that they aren’t alone. The Group meets via a private Facebook group.

NHS England

NHS trusts across England and Wales are working to provide the same levels of service. But the provision of IVF treatment varies across the country, and often depends on local CCG policies. In some cases, only 1 cycle of IVF may be routinely offered, instead of the 3 recommended by NICE.

Please note that there is a specific policy in place for members of the Armed Forces who wish to consider IVF treatment which only applies in England.

NHS Scotland

Eligible patients who are new referrals from 1st April 2017 may be offered up to three cycles of IVF/ICSI. For more information, please refer to the Fertility Network UK.

NHS Wales

In November 2009 the Minister for Health & Social Care announced that patients who meet the access criteria, where the woman is aged less than 40, will be entitled to two NHS cycles of treatment. In 2013, in view of the NICE Guidance update for fertility services, the all Wales expert advisory group made recommendations that fertility services should be available up to a woman’s 43rd Birthday. For more information, please refer to the Fertility Network UK.

HSC Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland the Health and Social Care Board (HSC) are responsible for commissioning of fertility services. A motion calling for the HSC to provide three full cycles of treatment has been approved in principle, but in reality additional finance needs to be made available to make this happen, even in a phased approach. For more information, please refer to the Fertility Network UK.

3. Royal Navy Recovery Pathway

Sometimes people in the Royal Navy get wounded, injured or become sick. If this happens, the Defence Recovery Pathway is there to help. 

The RN delivers its care and support through Casualty and Recovery Management (CRM), with the aim of providing the best environment to manage and support the RN’s Wounded, Injured & Sick (WIS) personnel. 

The ‘Recovery Pathway’ is designed to help someone return to work as quickly as possible, or to make sure they can access those key services and resources needed to work towards civilian life, if someone is not able to continue to serve in the RN. 


In the RN, the Recovery Pathway consists of the following: 

  • Navy Command Headquarters: develops RN policy, also working with the Army and RAF for a joint approach where possible; 
  • Recovery Cells (RCs): spread around the country and located within the three Naval bases at Devonport, Faslane and Portsmouth, and the air stations at Culdrose and Yeovilton; 
  • Recovery Troops (RTs): established in 30, 40, 42 and 45 Commando Units, managing the recovery of RMs;
  • RN Recovery Centre (RNRC) Hasler: Located in Plymouth, and dedicated to the specific and complex needs of the long-term seriously injured and ill RN personnel, who need tailored programmes and additional bespoke support.


In the case of anybody who gets wounded, injured or sick, you should tell their Line Manager straight away if they are medically ‘downgraded’ and have been given a Joint Medical Employability Code M-5 or M-6 code by their doctor. 


Line management should then raise an Individual Recovery Plan (IRP) immediately, because the IRP is key to shaping and taking forward recovery, giving it structure and focus. 


Therefore the IRP is mandatory for all RN WIS personnel who have a JMES of M-5 or M-6. This process is applicable to all Regulars, FTRS and all mobilised Maritime Reserves personnel. 


WIS people will get all immediate support from their unit. However, if the unit can’t support or provide the right recovery pathway, the unit will call for a Royal Navy Casualty Cell (RNCC) Case Conference as soon as possible. 


The aim of this is to discuss and fully understand someone’s individual circumstances, which will help the team of specialists come to an informed decision on the best recovery pathway. 


Medical, RN Family and People Support (RN FPS) and unit input is also needed to make sure the best decision is made. The result might be a new assignment to a Recovery Cell, a Recovery Troop, or RN Recovery Centre Hasler. This depends completely on personal circumstances and what might help best. If this decision is made, once assigned to a Recovery Cell/Troop, a Line Manager, working with medical and RN FPS staff, will decide on what the most suitable recovery route is, and support as that person works towards full recovery or, in some instances, a transition to civilian life. The most important thing to remember in all of this is that the RN is there to support through the recovery journey. Shaping the recovery and driving it forward is a key role for the WIS person concerned, but supported throughout by those RN organisations that are there to help. 

4. Service women’s Health Handbook

The handbook is for all Service Personnel, regardless of gender. It is for Servicewomen who are directly affected by female-specific health issues, for commanders and line managers who have a responsibility to enable their people to be their best, and for colleagues to better understand and support. 

5. Staying Healthy

The NHS and Department of Health and Social care advise that eating healthily, doing more exercise, stopping smoking, drinking alcohol within safe limits and looking after your mental wellbeing will reduce your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, breathing problems and mental illness. It will also increase your life expectancy, so now might be the time to do a personal stock take of your diet and physical activity. Are you eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly. If not, here are some useful websites that can help. 

Change 4 Life

This NHS website that has loads of ideas, recipes and games to help you and your family to be healthier and happier.

Change 4 Life - Wales

Would you or your family like to be healthier and happier? Would you like loads of ideas, recipes and games to help you do this?

Then join the thousands of other people in Wales and sign up today.

Get cycling

British Cycling want to encourage people of all ages to get on their bikes and discover the delights and health benefits of cycling.

Local Authorities

As part of their commitment to their local Armed Forces Covenant, many local authorities have chosen to offer discounts to Serving personnel, and their families in some areas, so that they can access fitness centres whilst they are at home and away from their unit fitness facilities.

NHS Live Well

NHS advice about healthy living, including eating a balanced diet, healthy weight, exercise, quitting smoking and drinking less alcohol. 

Northern Ireland

This website contains resources to help you incorporate enough activity into everyday life for better health.

Parent Club - Scotland

This website shows ways you can make changes to how you shop, cook and eat, to help you and your family eat better and feel better. It includes tips for fussy eaters, cook along videos, and recipes that you can save to your own account.

Royal Navy

Physical and mental fitness are at the heart of Royal Navy life, and NAVYfit is here to help you stay at the top of your game. Explore the benefits of an active and healthy lifestyle, discover sporting opportunities, and find out how you can push yourself even further with Adventurous Training; all in one place.

Starting an exercise programme

The NHS has a great idea for different exercise programmes and some offer free podcasts and apps, plus advice for new runners.   

Posted on: 2nd November, 2022