Armed Forces Covenant

All veterans are entitled to priority access to NHS care (including hospital, primary or community care) for conditions associated with their time within the armed forces (service-related).

But this is always subject to clinical need and doesn’t entitle you to jump the queue ahead of someone with a higher clinical need.

If the NHS service you’re dealing with is unaware of priority treatment, you’re actively encouraged to tell them about it and ensure you have told them you have served.

Wider NHS information on Healthcare for the armed forces community can be found on the NHS website.

Combined Healthcare receive Veteran Aware accreditation

Combined NHS Trust is proud to be signed up to the Armed Forces Covenant and has received accreditation awarded by the Veterans Covenant Healthcare Alliance (VCHA)

In order to be Outstanding we have made a series of pledges around sharing and driving best practice in NHS care for people who currently serve or have served in the Armed Forces and their families.

Supporting our Veteran patients

Being identified as a veteran in your NHS medical notes will ensure you are able to access specific veterans’ health services, such as those for mental health, hearing loss, limb amputation and wheelchairs. Please ensure that you are also registered as a veteran with your GP.

All veterans are entitled to priority access to NHS care for service-related conditions; however, this is always subject to clinical need and does not mean that you will automatically be treated ahead of others who have a more urgent clinical need.

Please let a member of staff know if you, or your spouse/partner, have ever served in the UK Armed Forces so that we can best support your care needs.

Combined Healthcare have put together the below patient information leaflet to demonstrate the variety of ways the trust supports veteran patients and the range of services available to support the armed forces community.

Employing Veterans

Combined have several staff members who are active members of the Armed Forces and Reservists or Armed Forces Veterans.  The NHS and our Trust recognises the transferable skills and cultural values that the Armed Forces community develop during their time in the Armed Forces environment and how they are compatible with those required within NHS roles. 

Combined Trust has signed up to the ‘Step into Health’ national programme, designed to help all ex-Armed Forces personnel, veterans and their spouse/partner to join the NHS and we are a member of the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) at a bronze level.

What can you expect from our Mental Health Services?

  • We support the health commitments of the Armed Forces Covenant.
  • We are committed to ensuring no disadvantage and giving special consideration where appropriate.
  • We will have educated and trained all relevant staff to identify and respond to veterans’ needs, signposting them to local support services where required.
  • We also support the UK armed forces community as an employer.

What are we doing to support Force Veterans?

  • We ask “have you ever served in HM Armed Forces?” to reach more veterans and this is documented in our patient records.
  • We continue to work with our clinical and primary care teams on improving access priority access for service-related conditions and clinical need.
  • Training modules are available to our staff to highlight both the similarities and the differences to allow healthcare personnel to understand both the context of military life and also how to appropriately respond to specific requirements around caring for and supporting Armed Forces Veterans.
  • We ensure engagement with partners are supporting veterans awareness and regular meet as a team to develop our action plans which is reported annual at a Trust Board level.
  • We help support those who choose to be members of the Reserve Forces, including accommodating their training and deployment where possible.
  • We support Veterans who may wish to transfer into careers within the NHS via the Defence, Step into Health scheme and the MOD Career Transition Partnership (CTP) networks.