Our Armed Forces Community

Logo with lion holding the United Kingdom flag with and group of veterans in unifrom

The Trust is proud to support patients from the Armed Forces Community:

  • Serving Personnel
  • Veterans
  • Reservists
  • Spouse or Partner (including spouses and partners of reservists)
  • Child of a veteran, service member or reservist aged 25 or under

We signed the Armed Forces Covenant in June 2021 and gained accreditation in July 2022 as ‘Veteran Aware’ ensuring veterans and their families receive the best possible care. VCHA Accredited NHS Trusts.

We ensure Armed Forces personnel, and their families are not disadvantaged when moving to or from the locality.

Our Patient Access Policy refers to the care and treatment of the Armed Forces Community; Serving personnel, Reservists, and Veterans. This ensures that all Military personnel and veterans should receive priority access to NHS secondary care for any conditions which are related to their service, subject to the clinical needs of all patients, in line with December 2007 guidance from the Department of Health. 

The Policy aids the Trust to meet the current guidance for priority service for military veterans.

We have signed the ‘Step into Health’ pledge. Transition into the NHS | Step Into Health | Armed Forces Jobs.

Trust awarded gold for Armed Forces Support

We are proud to have been awarded a coveted gold award in recognition of the support it offers to people serving in the armed forces, veterans, and their families.

The aLion holding union jack flag ward, which is the highest badge of honour an employer can receive, has been presented to the Trust as part of the Government’s Defence Employer Recognition Scheme 2023.

To achieve the accolade, the Trust needed to demonstrate it has put a range of measures in place to support service men and women, veterans, and families.

This includes offering 10 extra paid days of annual leave forCertificate for the Trust showcasing gold status reservists and making sure its policies are supportive of reservists, veterans, and the partners/dependents of people who are currently serving.

In addition, we run an active Armed Forces Network, which gives members the chance to influence positive change and further improve services.

Armed Forces Veteran Card

Photo of veteran card example If you haven’t already started the application for your official Veteran ID card, it may be because you haven’t had the time - or perhaps you’re wondering what is the point? 

Well, up until now, there has been no easy way for veterans to prove they were in the Armed Forces, with serving personnel being required to hand back their ID card (the MOD 90) upon discharge.

If you left the military recently, you may already have the new Veteran ID card. But those who left before December 2018 will not.

The new, official card (which can be applied for online) is being delivered by the Ministry of Defence and Office for Veterans’ Affairs as part of ongoing improvements to veteran support.

  • Allows you to easily verify your service to the NHS, your local authority, and military charities

Apply for an HM Armed Forces Veteran Card.

Joining the NHS

Advice for members of the armed forces community looking to join our Trust or other NHS organisations

The advantages of working for North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust.

We are committed to supporting colleagues with a connection to the Armed Forces. Here are a few of the ways we support our Armed Forces colleagues:

  • Armed Forces staff network – in 2021 we established an internal staff network for veterans, services spouses and partners, reservists, and cadets, as well as anyone else with a connection to the armed forces
  • 10 days’ additional paid leave for reservists
  • 5 day’s paid leave for spouse, partner, or dependent child

Application top tips

  • If the job application includes a tick box asking whether you are a member of the Armed Forces community, make sure to tick this – NWAngliaFT and some other NHS organisations offer guaranteed interview schemes if you meet the essential criteria.
  • Get in touch with the point of contact cited on the job advert. It is always useful to have an initial conversation to ask more about the role and identify the key skills and attributes they are looking for as this is often difficult to articulate on a job description
  • Highlight the skills you gained from the Armed Forces or being part of the community. For example, operational skills could help you implement new systems within the NHS. Being able to make difficult decisions under pressure would be a valuable attribute to many teams across the NHS
  • When completing the application form, answer directly to the person specification. Use headings and subheadings to clearly show how you meet each requirement
  • Get to know and reference the corporate values of the organisation you are applying to and link those to military values. For example, you could read NWAnglia's Vision and Values
  • Use the ‘situation, task, action, result’ or ‘challenge, action, result’ techniques to articulate your answer to questions in the job application
  • Being able to quickly adapt to changing environments and uplift others while managing a crisis would help the NHS during difficult periods. Make sure you emphasise all relevant experiences you have

Useful websites

Step into Health

Step into Health is made up of NHS organisations which have pledged their support to the programme. Through Step into Health, members of the Armed Forces community can connect to NHS organisations to set up training opportunities, clinical and general work placements, insight days and receive application support. The programme provides a dedicated pathway into a career in the NHS.

The Career Transition Partnership

The Career Transition Partnership is the MoD’s official provider of Armed Forces Resettlement. They also provide a free recruitment service for employers wishing to hire ex-military personnel, which ESNEFT are a part of.

Forces Families Jobs

Forces Families Jobs highlight training, employment and volunteer roles for family members of currently serving UK military personnel. You can use this website with confidence knowing that employers have signed the Armed Forces Covenant or have demonstrated their commitment to the Armed Forces.

Lion holding United Kingdom flag

Armed Forces organisations and charities

Op RESTORE – Veterans Physical Health and Wellbeing Service

Op RESTORE is an NHS service that ensures those who have served in the UK Armed Forces access the right NHS treatment for significant, continuing physical injuries and illnesses caused by their time in the Armed Forces.

Working together with military and civilian medical professionals, along with charities, we understand military life and the physical issues that can result from this.

Regardless of how long you served for, or how long ago you left the Armed Forces, we can support you with getting the right support to help restore your health and wellbeing.

We know that you and your family might be affected by a range of health and wellbeing issues due to your time in Service. We can help by:

  • ensuring you can access the care you need within the NHS
  • making sure you’re treated by people who understand the military world and specialise in the type of physical health problems you have
  • putting together a care plan shaped around your needs.

It doesn’t matter when the physical health problem happened or when you left the Armed Forces, Op RESTORE can help you if:

  • you’ve served at least one day in the British Armed Forces
  • your physical health problem is known to be caused by your time in Service
  • you’ve asked your GP to refer you

We work closely with Op COURAGE and can help you to access this service if you need support for your mental health. We also have close ties with military charities who can offer you further help.

Ask your GP to refer you to Op RESTORE – we can then create a plan for you using clinical information from your medical records.

Op COURAGE – Veterans’ Mental Health and Wellbeing Service

OP Courage is for serving personnel approaching discharge, and for veterans. The service provides a range of treatment, from access to early support, to therapeutic treatment for complex mental health difficulties, and psychological trauma.

Once we’ve received your referral and clinical information from your GP, a support worker from a military charity will get in touch – this usually takes about five working days. Your support worker can:

  • help you get any non clinical and welfare support you need
  • talk through any concerns or questions you have
  • keep you updated as your referral is being reviewed
  • help your family or carer access support if needed.

When your referral and the Service related clinical information from your GP is received, we will review it. This process normally takes about 8 weeks during which time we will make a plan for your care.

We want to make sure that you’re seen by a clinician with the right skills and experience to treat you and will refer you, where needed, to other NHS services. It may be that you are already receiving the most appropriate health care for your needs, in which case we will confirm your treatment and may still offer some welfare support if you need it.

We use existing NHS services and because of this you may have to wait a few months before seeing someone. Please be aware that the NHS service we recommend may not be local to you. Whilst Op RESTORE is unable to reduce NHS waiting times, we will work with you to ensure you are able to see the best person to treat you.

Once your clinical plan has been agreed by a consultant with expertise in caring for those with Service related issues, we will contact your GP who will let you know the next steps.

Op FORTITUDE – service for veterans in housing crisis or at risk

Op FORTITUDE provides a centralised referral pathway for veterans experiencing homelessness or at risk of losing their current home.
Phone: 0800 952 0774

National organisations

Veterans Gateway

First point of contact for veterans and their families providing information, advice and support.
Call 0808 802 1212 or text 81212

Combat Stress

The charity Combat Stress provides self help advice on their website. They offer mental health helplines for 24/7 confidential advice and support.


  • Veterans and their families helpline: 08001 381 619
  • Serving personnel and their families helpline: 08003 234 444
  • Text Combat Stress: 07537 173 683 or email the Combat Stress helpline

Defence Medical Welfare Service (DMWS)

DMWS provides practical and emotional support to military personnel, veterans, their families and other entitled civilians when they’re in hospital, rehabilitation recovery centres.

Help for Heroes

The Help for Heroes charity provides physical, psychological, financial and welfare support to wounded, injured and sick service personnel and veterans, and their families. Contact Help for Heroes through their website to see how they can support you.

Royal British Legion

The Royal British Legion gives advice and support on wellbeing on their website and through their community branches. For additional advice and support, the Royal British Legion also have an online chat and helpline that is open 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week.
Helpline: 08088 028 080


SSAFA provides lifelong emotional and practical support. To get support, call their helpline or use their online chat Monday to Friday, 9am - 5.30pm or call their helpline via 08002 606 767.


For veterans who struggle to live independently.  STOLL provides housing and support services to help veterans live independently.


Togetherall is a mental health support service that provides anonymous, round-the-clock online support, with trained counsellors available at all times. There’s a supportive community and lots of free resources that all armed forces personnel, reservists, veterans and their families can use at any time.

Armed Forces Charities for People with Specific Healthcare Conditions


For veterans who have experienced life-changing limb loss, lost the use of a limb, or lost sight during service, as well as their families. Blesma offers advice and support through their local support officers. Blesma also provides financial assistance to help with the additional costs of disability. Call 02085 901 124.

Blind Veterans UK

For veterans who have experienced sight loss and their families.
Blind Veterans UK offer community groups, rehabilitation and support with care as well as advice on their website. Call 08003 897 979.

Women’s Armed Forces Charities

Salute Her UK

For women veterans who are survivors of military sexual trauma and their families. Salute Her UK provides a support service which offers mental health therapy and interventions for women survivors of military sexual trauma in a single sex environment.

LGBTQIA+ Armed Forces Charities

Fighting with Pride

For LGBTQIA+ serving personnel, veterans and their families.
Fighting with Pride advise on how to get help and provide information for LGBTQIA+ members of the armed forces community.

Addiction Charities

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)

AA is a free self-help network. Its “12-step” programme involves getting sober with the help of regular support groups. AA believes people with drink problems need to give up alcohol permanently.

SMART Recovery

SMART Recovery runs a network of self-help and mutual aid meetings where participants help themselves and fellow members with recovery from any kind of addictive behaviour.

The Matthew Project Outside the Wire 

Veteran-led armed forces support in Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Cambridge. The Matthew Project Outside the Wire is a bespoke drug and alcohol service offering confidential advice and support to current and ex HM Forces personnel and their families, across Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, and Cambridgeshire.