Supporting the armed forces community

Supporting the armed forces community

We are proud to be a Veteran Aware Trust

Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust has been named a Veteran Aware Trust in recognition of its commitment to improving NHS care for veterans, reservists, members of the armed forces and their families.

The accreditation, from the Veterans Covenant Healthcare Alliance (VCHA), acknowledges the Trust’s commitment to a number of key pledges, including:

- Ensuring that the armed forces community is never disadvantaged compared to other patients, in line with the NHS’s commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant

- Training relevant staff on veteran specific culture or needs

- Making veterans, reservists and service families aware of appropriate charities or NHS services beneficial to them, such as mental health services or support with financial and/or benefit claims

- Supporting the armed forces as an employer

Please tell us if you or your spouse/partner, parent or sibling have ever served in the UK armed forces so we can best support your care needs.

Being flagged as a veteran in your NHS medical notes will help ensure you are able to access specific veterans’ health services, such as those for mental health, hearing loss, limb amputation and wheelchairs. All veterans are entitled to priority access to NHS care (including hospital, primary or community care) for conditions associated with their time in 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.



Who is a veteran?

A veteran is anyone who has served for at least one day in the armed forces, whether regular or reserve. This also applies to Merchant Navy seafarers and fishermen who have served in a vessel when it was being used for military operations by the armed forces.

For more information on how the NHS can help if you're in the British armed forces or are a veteran, a reservist or a family member of someone who is serving or who has served visit NHS England -

NHS services

Op CourageOP courage

Informed by feedback from veterans and their families, all NHS specialist veterans mental health services will now come under one new name - Op COURAGE: The Veterans’ Mental Health and Wellbeing Service. 



Veterans Trauma Network (VTN) 

The VTN is a collection of 12 NHS Veteran Trauma Centres and four specialist units, each with military and civilian medical experts who will be able to help you with your physical service-related health problem. They will work with you to develop the best clinical plan for your needs.

Download the VTN Overview for further details.

Ask your GP to refer you to the VTN at


Armed Forces Health PodcastThe Armed Forces NHS Health Podcast

A brand-new NHS Armed Forces Health Podcast launches on Wednesday 3 August. This podcast series has been commissioned by the Armed Forces Public Patient Voice Group (AF PPVG) in order to be used as a resource for the Armed Forces community to support them in understanding and navigating the NHS and to raise awareness of how to become empowered advocates for their own health as a patient or family member of one.

There are six episodes in all taking the listener on a journey through the different aspects of the NHS. They can listen to the whole series or one that is relevant to them. The guests are all members of the AF PPVG who gave up their time to pass on their expertise and experiences they felt were relevant.

The series will be released over 6 weeks as follows:

  • Episode 1: Wed 3 August - What is the AFPPVG? with Kate Davies, Nicky Murdoch and Tom Fox
  • Episode 2: Wed 10 August - Military medical experience and leaving with Dr Johnathan Leach, Paul Findlay and Kate King
  • Episode 3: Wed 17 August - Your GP with Dr Jonathan Leach, Kat Dalby-Welsh and Paul Findlay
  • Episode 4: Wed 24 August - Physical health with Mr Shehan Hettiaratchy, Gregg Stevenson and Teresa Griffiths
  • Episode 5: Wed 31 August - Mental health with Dr Dan Barnard, Tom Fox and Jo Jukes
  • Episode 6: Wed 7 September - Family/children with Andrea Collins, Jenny Ward and Jess Stirling-Yeatman

The podcast team believe that this podcast can really change lives by familiarising people with the work that the NHS England Armed Forces Patient and Public Voice (AFPPV) Group does. They hope to reach those who would otherwise not know what services are available to them, and by doing so improve their lives and journeys to recovery.

The podcast will be available on all podcasts apps and channels and will be searchable under the name of the NHS Armed Forces Health Podcast.

Please share this widely with staff and patients who are part of the armed forces community to help support them in their healthcare journey.

For more information on the veteran project here in the Trust please email:


Further supporting organisations

There are a number of supporting organisations that can help with a variety of needs that are based nationally and locally.


Forces Connect AppForces Connect app icon

In as little as just four clicks, the Forces Connect free mobile app can signpost veterans, armed forces personnel and their loved ones to support and advice in their local area. The Forces Connect app is designed to link users in four easy clicks to organisations offering immediate help and support across a wide range of services. The information is updated monthly, there are no charges or adverts and there's no need to enter any personal data.

To download the app, search "Forces Connect" in Apple's App Store or the Google Play Store.                                                                        



SSAFA provides lifelong support for veterans and their families.

SSAFA, the Armed Forces charityTrained SSAFA volunteers can provide practical, emotional and financial support if and when veterans need it, via a network of local branches which means that help and advice is always close at hand.


Telephone: 0800 731 4880


The Royal British LegionRoyal British Legion

RBL provides lifelong support for members of the Royal Navy, British Army, Royal Air Force and their families. Key services include household repairs, care homes, financial advice, dementia care, hearing loss and tinnitus services, mobility equipment support and much more.

Telephone: 0808 802 8080


Help For HeroesHelp for Heroes

Help For Heroes help veterans, and those still serving, by providing physical, psychological, financial and welfare support for as long as they need it. They also support families, because they too can be affected by their loved one’s wounds.


Telephone: 0198 0844 388



Blesma Blesma, The Limbless Veterans, is dedicated to assisting serving and ex-Service men and women who have suffered life-changing limb loss or the use of a limb, an eye or loss of sight in the honourable service of our country.


Telephone: 020 8590 1124


Fusiliers vs SuicideFusiliers vs Suicide

Website set up by a group of British Army veterans who have served on the frontline with The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers to raise awareness, educate and equip in suicide intervention skills, in order to defeat the enemy: suicide and save lives.



The Ripple PondThe Ripple Pond

Supporting adult family members of physically or psychologically injured British Armed Forces personnel and veterans. Their peer support service will connect you with a network of Forces families, who’ll offer you genuine support and understanding. They also work collaboratively with many other organisations and charities, and have a range of trusted parties that they can signpost you to for specific military family support services.


Telephone: 0333 900 1028


All Call SignsAll Call Signs

All Call Signs is an award-winning peer support network for veterans, serving military personnel and their families. Too many veterans, service personnel and family members have nowhere to turn to when life gets tough. All Call Signs is changing that, one conversation at a time. Join a platform purpose-built to support the UK’s military community through bad times and good.


Telephone: 023 9438 7914


Surrey County CouncilSurrey County Council

Surrey County Council offer a wealth of support to the armed forces community, including wellbeing hubs and activities ranging from model making and archery to breakfast clubs.



Phone: 07790 585 352


Fishing For HeroesFishing For Heroes

Fishing For Heroes is a nationwide charity based in the midlands with the aim of helping forces personnel who are suffering from emotional issues after the horrors of active service by providing fly fishing instruction.


Telephone: 01332 667 966


Veterans In Community

 VICVeterans in Communities (VIC) is an East Lancashire based Armed Forces charity supporting former ex-service men and women who have served in any of the branches of the Royal Navy, Army, Royal Marines, Royal Air Force, the emergency services (Blue Light) and their families.

The VIC art group is now a well established form of relaxation therapy and they are looking at running virtual art classes, which were popular during the recent COVID-19 lockdowns. If you are interested in attending a virtual art class please contact Darren Horsnell at or call 01706 833180 for more information.



Haig Housing Trust