WAR pensioners in Wiltshire may soon get priority medical treatment after the launch of a campaign by the Royal British Legion's county vice-chairman John Ireland.

The Broken Covenant Campaign aims to sign up doctors' surgeries to honour the 1997 NHS agreement that war pensioners would receive priority treatment for ailments they receive their war pensions for.

Wootton Bassett is the latest town to be approached by the campaign.

Sandra Walklett, practice manager for Tinkers Lane Surgery in Wootton Bassett, said: "This is something I will certainly be discussing with the partners as we haven't heard of this guideline before.

"If indeed it is an NHS guideline we will do all we can to follow it."

The term War Pensioner applies to people who were injured or disabled as a result of service during the First and Second World Wars, including civilians who suffered wartime injuries.

In 1997 when the guidelines were drafted, the term was altered to include people who were injured or disabled before the First World War or during the interwar years between October 1, 1921 and September 2, 1939.

Calne first launched the Broken Covenant Campaign after plans for a new countywide legion club and welfare office fell through in February.

A Grade Two listed building in Calne was to be sold to the legion for £225,000 and renovation plans, which were drawn up two years ago, were set to give the site a £350,000 overhaul.

Mr Ireland, a town councillor and former serviceman, said: "We would have passed this message to our veterans through the welfare office previously, but now that the dream will not become a reality we must turn to the surgeries to help publicise our plight."

All three doctors surgeries in Calne signed up to the initiative.

Robert Baggs, practice manager at Northlands Surgery, said: "When I first heard of this guideline I was surprised that I hadn't heard it before.

"Anything that can see our war pensioners cared for in this way is a great thing and we certainly plan to support the campaign."

If surgeries in Wootton Bassett take on the scheme the RBL hope the campaign will eventually cover the whole of Wiltshire.

Coun Ireland added: "This is the most hard hitting campaign that the RBL has ever undertaken and we aim to see all war pensioners treated as they should be - with dignity and respect.

"We are thrilled by the response so far and hope to see this practice spread across the county."