We have signed the Armed Forces Covenant as a commitment towards its armed forces communities. The covenant’s two principles are:
- The armed forces community should not face disadvantage compared to other citizens and should enjoy the same standard of, and access to, healthcare as that received by any other UK citizen in the area they live.
- Veterans receive their healthcare from the NHS, and should receive priority treatment where it relates to a condition which results from their service in the Armed Forces, subject to clinical need.
We are on our way towards accreditation as a Veteran Aware trust by the Veterans Health Care Alliance (VHCA). VCHA is a group of NHS providers who have agreed to be exemplars of the best care for, and support to, the armed forces community (be they regular, reserves, veterans, spouses or dependants).
This page provides information to support our armed forces community service users.
What is a UK armed forces veteran?
In the UK, a veteran is defined as anyone who has served for at least one day in HM Armed Forces (regular or reserve) or Merchant Seafarers who worked alongside personnel in legally defined conflict situations. This covers veterans, veteran family members and serving personnel family members.
Information for prospective staff
We recognise the transferable skills and cultural values that Armed Forces personnel have developed, and how these skills and values are compatible with working in the NHS. We actively encourage applications from people who are currently employed in the armed forces.
Through our involvement with the Step into Health programme, are connected to people from the Armed Forces community seeking employment and career development opportunities.
We seek to support our reservists on deployment and acknowledge the special circumstances that our staff from the Armed Forces community face through provision of a wide range of wellbeing initiatives.
The Veterans Gateway
The Veterans Gateway was set up to give one point of contact for support. It puts veterans and their families in touch with other organisations best placed to help with the information, advice and support they need. Call 0808 802 1212 or visit www.veteransgateway.org.uk
Directory of resources for Veterans and their families: general support and advice
- Armed Forces Network for Sussex and Kent and Medway: single point of contact for people, family members and carers of the armed
forces community. Provides advice, guidance and support on how to use the NHS, advice on veteran-friendly GP practices in the local area, signposting to social prescribing support and more.
- Forces Connect app: downloadable app (Apple and Android) based on the pathways produced by the Armed Forces Network. One of the easiest ways to access information and support for the Armed Forces community.
- Veterans’ Gateway: first point of contact for veterans and their families 24/7 for help across housing, mental wellbeing, finances and more information, advice and support they need.
- Veterans Aid: crisis support for veterans.
- SSAFA: runs Forcesline – a free and confidential telephone helpline that provides support for serving (regulars and reserves), ex-Forces and for their families.
- Resources for the Gurkha and Nepalese community: information about healthcare services in translation.
- Armed Forces Breakfast Clubs: provide a welcoming and inclusive environment where veterans can socialise, share stories,
and support each other; also provide a support network for veterans who may be dealing with physical or mental health
issues related to their military service.
Directory of resources for Veterans and their families: mental health
- Op Courage: the Veterans Mental Health and Wellbeing Service; Op COURAGE is an NHS mental health specialist service designed
to help serving personnel due to leave the military, reservists, armed forces veterans and their families.
- Veterans’ Mental Health High Intensity Service: Care and treatment for former armed forces personnel (veterans) and their loved ones who are in a mental health crisis and need urgent help. The service works in collaboration with other services and will also help
people who struggle to engage with services. Veterans can self-refer.
- Combat Stress: military support charity providing mental health services for veterans
- The Ripple Pond: the only registered UK charity solely supporting the adult family members of physically or psychologically injured
British Forces personnel and veterans.
- Togetherall: A mental health support service that provides:
- anonymous, round-the clock online support with trained counsellors
- a supportive community, including forums for safe conversation free resources to help you improve your mental health
All armed forces serving personnel, reservists, veterans and their families can access these services at any time.
Directory of resources for Veterans and their families: general healthcare
- OpCommunity: telephone line for the armed forces community to offer support and guidance around navigating NHS services
and advice regarding other services that can support with issues.
- T: 01273 403693
- E: email@example.com
- The Veterans’ Trauma Network: specialist care to veterans with service specific injuries. Veterans benefit from a personalised care
plan implemented by top military and civilian trauma experts in health centres across England.
- Referrals can be made via a GP at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Royal British Legion: hearing – The RBL Veterans’ Hearing Fund provides additional support for hearing loss and/or tinnitus relating to time in service.
- Veterans’ Mobility Fund: provides specialist wheelchairs, orthotic equipment and other mobility-related items for veterans who have a serious physical injury and whose needs cannot be met through statutory services.
Directory of resources for Veterans and their families: housing/homelessness
- OpFortitude: dedicated referral pathway for homeless veterans, including those sleeping on the streets. Will also signpost to complementary services, including specialist medical care, connections with local communities, and employment services.
- Referral by phone: 0800 9520774
- Royal British Legion Industries (RBLI): RBLI has an established relationship with MTW for inpatients facing delayed discharged for
social reasons and has facilities for housing veterans who are homeless/in danger of homelessness.
- Tel: 01622 795900
- Email: email@example.com
Directory of resources for Veterans and their families: employment
- RBLI Lifeworks: a free employment support programme which equips veterans and family members of those currently serving with the tools.
- Tel: 0800 319 6844
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- The Poppy Factory (Royal British Legion): supports veterans with health conditions on their journey into employment, helping them
overcome any barriers.
- Tel: 020 8939 1837
- Walking with the Wounded: supports a pathway for vulnerable veterans to reintegrate into society and sustain their independence