Supporting the Armed Forces Community

Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust is proud to support those who serve or have served in the Armed Forces and their families with their healthcare needs.

As an Armed Forces Friendly Organisation, we are committed to ensuring that serving personnel, reservists, veterans and their families are not disadvantaged compared to other citizens when accessing health services. We are also proud to support current employees who are reservists or veterans, and potential employees who have completed their service and are looking to join the NHS as the next step in their career.

In 2022, HDFT signed the Armed Forces Covenant, a voluntary pledge that acknowledges that veterans and serving personnel should have the same access to services as the civilian community and should not face disadvantages in their day-to-day lives owing to their time as part of HM Armed Forces.

Since 2017, HDFT has also held the Silver Defence Employer Recognition Scheme Award for its commitment to supporting the Armed Forces community. The silver award is given to employers who have shown their support for existing or prospective employees who are reservists or armed forces veterans, and their spouses/partners.

Healthcare for the Armed Forces Community

Our purpose is to improve the health and wellbeing of our patients, children and communities by delivering the best quality, safest care.

We are committed to ensuring that members of the Armed Forces Community are supported, treated equally and receive the same standard of healthcare as any other UK citizen; including retaining their relative position on an NHS waiting list if moved around the UK due to a military service posting and veterans receiving priority treatment for conditions resulting from their service in the Armed Forces.

We can help you with your physical, mental and emotional needs through our wide range of services. Many of our staff have been trained to identify and respond to the specific needs of the Armed Forces Community, therefore please do not hesitate to identify yourself as a member or former member of the Armed Forces.


There are currently around 2.6 million veterans in the UK and when servicemen and women leave the armed forces, their healthcare is the responsibility of the NHS. It is highly important for continuing healthcare that veterans register with an NHS GP and remember to tell them you’ve served.

Telling your GP practice about your veteran status will trigger the transfer of your full medical documentation from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to your GP and enable you to benefit from veteran-specific services, like prosthetics and mental health.

No disadvantage’

You shouldn’t be disadvantaged from accessing appropriate health services, so it’s important that you notify your current GP that you are moving, particularly if you’re on a waiting list for medical treatment, so that this information can be transferred across.

Details of GP surgeries and other health services within your area can be found by using find GP services.

All veterans are entitled to priority access to NHS care (including hospital, primary or community care) for conditions associated to their time within the armed forces (service-related). However, this is always subject to clinical need and does not entitle you to jump the queue ahead of someone with a higher clinical need.

If the NHS service you are dealing with is unaware of priority treatment, you are actively encouraged to tell them about it and ensure you have told them that you have served. Failing that, you can enlist local health care commissioners, your local authority community covenant lead, or one of the national service organisations, such as the Royal British Legion, to support you.

For more information on the duty of care owed to service personnel, read the Armed Forces Covenant (PDF, 919kb).

Improving care for severely injured veterans

NHS England hosts the Veterans Trauma Network, which aims to provide specialist care for patients with service-related traumatic injuries.

The network comprises of 10 major trauma centres across England:

  • Plymouth
  • Oxford
  • London (three centres)
  • Birmingham
  • Nottingham
  • Liverpool
  • Leeds
  • Middlesbrough

The network acts as a regional hub for veteran care, linking with NHS veterans mental health services, national centres of expertise and key service charities to provide a complete package of care.

Patients referred to the service have a personalised treatment plan developed and provided by a specialist team of military and civilian experts in trauma. As part of this, the needs of families and carers are also considered.

If you are supporting a veteran or veterans who you feel may benefit from referral to this service, BLESMA is the umbrella charity for the veterans trauma network and can be contacted by:

Referrals to the network can also be made via a GP, Blind Veterans UK and Style for Soldiers.

For further information on the service or referrals, email either:

Armed Forces Health Stakeholder Brief

Armed Forces Community Database

We understand that sometimes it can be difficult finding the support and advice you need. To help, we have compiled an extensive list of organisations who can assist you and provide the help you need.

General help


HIVE Information Centres are provided by the Army to give information support to all members of the Service community – Serving personnel (Regular and Reserves), their dependants and extended families, MOD Civilians and Veterans.

Help for Heroes

Help for Heroes assists the Armed Forces community to live well after service. They help veterans, their relatives, serving personnel, and people who worked alongside the UK military in many ways , such as with their physical and mental health needs, and a range of welfare issues. Their support gives people the skills, confidence and knowledge to make a success of life in the civilian world.

Veterans’ Gateway

Veterans’ Gateway provides information, advice and support for veterans and their families. Their expert help covers welfare areas including housing, mental wellbeing, finances and more. You can get in touch with their friendly helpline team by phone, text and chat 24/7.

Royal British Legion

The Royal British Legion is here to help members of the Royal Navy, British Army, Royal Air Force, veterans and their families. The Royal British Legion can provide help and advice concerning a wide range of topics including care and independent living, physical and mental wellbeing, financial and employment support, local community connections and expert guidance.

Cobseo – The Confederation of Service Charities

Cobseo provides a single point of contact for interaction with Government, including local government and the Devolved Administrations; with the Royal Household; with the Private Sector; and, of course, with other members of the Armed Forces Community. This allows Cobseo Members to interact with all interested parties and especially to cooperate and collaborate with others in order to provide the best possible level of support to beneficiaries.

SSAFA – Armed Forces Charity

SSAFA helps the armed forces community in a number of ways, though their focus is on providing direct support to individuals in need of physical or emotional care. Addiction, relationship breakdown, debt, homelessness, post-traumatic stress, depression and disability are all issues that can affect our members of our Armed Forces community. Many of these problems only become apparent when an individual has to leave their life in the Forces and join ‘Civvy Street’. SSAFA is committed to helping our brave men and women overcome these problems, and rebuild their lives.

Association of Service Drop -In Centres (ASDIC)

The Association of Service Drop-In Centres (ASDIC) represents and links veterans’ Drop-Ins across the country. Sometimes called Hubs or Centres, Drop-Ins offer a variety of welfare and mental health support, together with comradeship and a sense of well-being, to the ex-military community and their families, and ASDIC helps them to enhance the service they can provide and make them more accessible.  Quite simply, it’s a movement led largely by veterans for veterans – all Services, all ranks – in a huge number of locations across the country, where those who have served can just, literally, drop in and find everything from friendship and free coffee to some serious professional and focused advice and guidance.

Walking with the Wounded

Walking with the Wounded offers support services to veterans and their families for a range of issues, such as mental health, employment, criminal justice and addiction. Their website offers information on how to be referred to their services.

Veterans UK

Veterans UK provide free support for veterans and their families, including a helpline, Veterans Welfare Service, Defence Transition Services and injury/bereavement compensation scheme payments. Veterans UK is part of the Ministry of Defence.

Defence Transition Services

Run by the MOD’s Veterans UK. It exists to provide information and support for those service leavers and their families who are most likely to face challenges as they leave the armed forces and adjust to civilian life.

Royal Air Force Families Federation

The Royal Air Force Families Federation works to improve quality of life for the RAF family around the world – at work or at home.  This could include resolving problems with access to education or healthcare, for children and young people; sorting out problems with accommodation, benefits, and visas; helping military spouses find meaningful employment. Additionally, they will support you in addressing issues that can arise when you live in one place, such as access to bases, repeated separations as a family, and finding the right help and advice. They work hard with a multitude of other organisations and agencies – from the NHS to the big banks – to ensure that you and your family are treated fairly and that you do not face disadvantage because of the unique nature of service life.

Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund

Providing lifelong support to serving and ex-serving RAF personnel and their families. They’ll consider any request for assistance, however big or small, providing a tailor-made approach to each individual situation. From mobility aids and confidential counselling to financial grants, they offer a range of support tailored to the individual’s needs.

The Royal Naval Benevolent Trust

Providing financial assistance and support to Royal Navy and Royal Marines personnel and their families in time of need.

The Ripple Pond

Supporting adult family members of physically or psychologically injured British Armed Forces personnel and veterans. he Ripple Pond know how challenging it can be to support a loved one who’s struggling, and they want to help. By joining their peer support network, you’ll be immersing yourself in a community of people who’ve felt exactly how you’re feeling right now. No more having to explain yourself… they all just get it. That level of understanding can have a positive impact in so many ways.


Op COMMUNITY is a support service for the Armed Forces Community provided by Heartbeat for Humber & North Yorkshire ICB. Op COMMUNITY as an easy and accessible single point of contact for Armed Forces families, carers and communities across Humber and North Yorkshire with their health and social care needs.

Op Community leaflet

Op Nova

Op Nova provides support to Veterans who are arrested. They work with you to understand your issues and needs. They have extensive experience of working with Veterans who are arrested and are in prison as well as with ex-offenders.

They organise support, working with their charity partners, for:

• Accommodation
• Employment, Education and Training
• Drugs & alcohol
• Finances and Debt
• Mental Health
• Children & Families

Armed Families Federation

The Army Families Federation (AFF) is the independent voice of Army families and works hard to improve the quality of life for Army families around the world – on any aspect that is affected by the Army lifestyle. They will help with any issue you have as an Army family. Maybe you have come to a dead-end through your own efforts and are not satisfied with the answers you have been given or perhaps you want to highlight an issue so that AFF can work on it.

Some of the main areas they deal with are:

  • Housing
  • Health and additional needs
  • Education and childcare
  • Employment and training
  • Foreign and commonwealth
  • Army Reserve
  • Deployments
  • Money matters
  • Family life

Naval Families Federation

Sometimes it can be difficult to find the help, support or advice you need. That’s why the Naval Families Federation is here. A totally confidential service, they understand the challenges of Navy life but aren’t a formal part of the Naval Service. Whether you need help with schools, where you live or work, your finances, your future, a posting overseas, relationships or your health, their concern is always for you, the Naval Service family.

The Forces Pension Society

The Forces Pension Society is an independent, not-for-profit organisation that acts as a pension watchdog for the entire military community.

Service Families Federations

The three Service Families Federations offer independent and confidential advice on a range of issues for all service families.

Website for Army Families

Website for Naval Families

Website for Royal Air Force Families


Career Transition Partnership (CTP)

The CTP provides resettlement recruitment services for those leaving the Royal Navy, Army, Royal Air Force and Marines. Regardless of time served, all members of the Armed Forces can benefit from CTP employment support when leaving Service.

The Poppy Factory

The Poppy Factory supports veterans with health conditions on their journey into employment, helping them overcome any barriers.

The Forces Employment Charity

They provide life-long, life-changing support, jobs and training opportunities to Service leavers, reservists, veterans and their families.

Mental Health


Togetherall is a safe, online community where people support each other anonymously to improve mental health and wellbeing. Millions of people in the UK have access via their participating employer, university, college, NHS provider or local council. All armed forces personnel, veterans and their families (16+) also have free access. Joining Togetherall provides something that has always been important for good mental health and wellbeing: a community for shared experiences and mutual support. The platform promotes a sense of belonging and connection through community. They are accessible anywhere, anytime, 24/7.

OP Courage

Op Courage is the Veterans mental health and wellbeing service. It is the new name for the new name for the Veterans’ Mental Health Transition, Intervention and Liaison Service (TILS), Veterans’ Mental Health Complex Treatment Service (CTS) and Veterans’ Mental Health High-Intensity Service (HIS) and provides specialist care and support for Reservists, Service leavers and their families. Op Courage Contact Map

Combat Stress

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

PTSD Resolution

Providing effective PTSD Counselling for Forces Veterans, Reservists & Families. Helps Veterans (any former Armed Forces Personnel), Reservists and Families who are struggling to reintegrate into a normal work & family life because of trauma suffered during military service and other adverse life events. The programme is community-based, with treatment and support provided locally through a nationwide network of 200 therapists, accredited by the Professional Standards Authority.

Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide (SOBS)

Offering peer-to-peer support to all those over the age of 18, impacted by suicide loss in the UK. SOBS help those bereaved by suicide to support each other, at the time of their loss and in the months and years that follow. They are a self-help organisation and provide a safe, confidential environment in which bereaved people can share their experiences and feelings, so giving and gaining support from each other.


The UK’s leading charity fighting for children and young people’s mental health. Every young person whose mental health ends up in crisis is a young person who has been failed. The earlier young people can access the right help, the more likely it is that they can avoid these crises.

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.

Veterans Places Pathways and People (V3P)

V3P is a programme funded by The Armed Forces Covenant to create veteran centric projects to ensure that veterans with mental health and wellbeing needs, have access to effective pathways of care and support in the Northeast ,Yorkshire add Cumbria. The V3P not only supports veterans but also provides training to volunteers who work with veterans, to support them on their pathway.

Veterans Places Pathways and People brochure

Health and Social Care

Defence Medical Welfare Service (DMWS)

Defence Medical Welfare Service (DMWS) provides practical and emotional support to military personnel, veterans, their families and other entitled civilians when they’re in hospital, rehabilitation or recovery centres.


Op RESTORE, the Veterans Physical Health and Wellbeing Service, is an NHS service that supports individuals who have served in, or are leaving, the UK Armed Forces and have continuing, physical health injuries and related medical problems attributed to their time in the Armed Forces.

Op RESTORE leaflet

Veterans Trauma Network

Did you know that, in England and Wales, you can use the Veterans Trauma Network (VTN) to access NHS Healthcare? The Veterans Trauma Network consists of twelve NHS Veterans Trauma centres and four specialist units. These contain both military and civilian medical experts who can assist you with your physical service-related health problem.  You will need to be a veteran, anyone who has served a minimum of one day in Her Majesty’s Armed Forces, whether regular or reserve. You will also need to be entitled to routine NHS medical care (meet residency requirements). And the injury will need to be as a result of your service.

Blind Veterans UK

Blind Veterans UK helps ex-Service men and women of every generation rebuild their lives after sight loss. They provide rehabilitation, training, practical advice and emotional support to blind veterans.

Veterans Hearing

The UK Veterans Hearing Foundation was created to help UK Veterans of all ages, ethnicities and gender to be able to access quality hearing aids, with support for associated tinnitus and mental health issues caused by their military service.


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, The Limbless Veterans, offers advice and support through their local support officers. Blesma also provides financial assistance to help with the additional costs of disability.

Disablement Service Centres

They offer prosthetics, artificial limbs, orthotics, wheelchairs, complex seating systems and environmental controls.


Armed Forces & Veterans Breakfast Clubs

The Armed Forces & Veterans Breakfast Clubs purpose is to facilitate veterans and serving armed forces personnel to meet face to face in a relaxed , safe, social environment to enjoy breakfast and banter, to combat loneliness and allow veterans to ‘return to the tribe’.

The Not Forgotten Association

They provide events for wounded serving personnel and disabled veterans, which improve physical and mental health, address isolation and loneliness, and promote a sense of community and balance. This enables beneficiaries to live a normal, if not better life.

The RBL Network for Carers

The purpose of this network is to help Armed Forces carers feel less lonely and isolated because of their caring role.


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.

Rehab Recovery

Rehab Recovery is able to recommend specific addiction treatments applicable for members of the armed forces and veterans. Learn about a range of evidence-based treatments for your needs or the needs of your loved ones.

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.

GamCare (Gambling)

GamCare provides free information, advice and support for anyone affected by problem gambling and also operates the National Gambling Helpline, either over the phone or via web chat, plus a moderated online Forum and chatrooms.

Rehab 4 Addiction

Rehab 4 Addiction was founded to assist those affected by substance misuse and their loved ones. Rehab 4 Addiction offer a range of services, and help signpost you to the most effective treatments. This includes alcohol rehab, drug rehab, detox services, intervention, aftercare and outpatient counselling. Their helpline advisors are committed to helping you in your quest to locate effective treatments for addiction.



Shelter helps millions of people every year struggling with bad housing or homelessness through advice, support and legal services. For free and independent advice from Shelter.

National Homelessness Advice Service (NHAS)

They take positive steps to prevent homelessness and improve access to housing among ex-Service personnel and their families.

Riverside Group

The Riverside Group support veterans facing homelessness and our services have been developed and driven by staff who have served in the Armed Forces.


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


Workers’ Education Association

The UK’s largest voluntary sector provider of adult education in England and Scotland. Founded in 1903, the WEA (Workers’ Educational Association) is a charity dedicated to bringing high-quality, professional education into the heart of communities. Last year they helped 28,219 students, with the support of nearly 2,000 volunteers, 900+ tutors and over 6,000 members. They deliver friendly, accessible and enjoyable courses for adults from all walks of life.

elearning for healthcare

An e-learning package to support all healthcare professionals in caring got serving personnel, veterans and their families.


Little Troopers

Little Troopers is a registered charity supporting all military children who have parent(s) serving in our British Armed Forces, regular or reserve. These children often face unique challenges including frequent house and school moves, as well as regular periods of separation from their serving parent(s) for varying lengths of time due to exercises, training, operations and other service commitments. As a charity, Little Troopers ensures our British Armed Forces children and their families have access to child-focused support, providing fundamental resources and initiatives.

Family Lives

Offering parenting and family support.

The Forces Additional Needs and Disability Forum

The Forces Additional Needs and Disability Forum (FANDF) is a tri-Service group for current Serving families or individuals who have a child or adult dependent with an additional need and/or disability.

Their mission is:

• To give a voice to Forces families with additional needs and disabilities.
• To change attitudes towards families with additional needs and disabilities within the Armed Forces.
• To ensure policy and decision makers understand the needs of Forces families, who have additional needs and disabilities.

SENDIASS (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Information, Advice and Support Service)

SENDIASS North Yorkshire is a service for parents and carers of young people aged 0-25 with special educational needs and /or disabilities (SEND) as well as young people themselves. It is impartial, which means it is not bias and gives confidential information, advice and support that is arms length to the Local Authority.

It is free, easy to access and confidential. They can help children, parents and young people take part in decisions that affect their lives.

They offer information, advice and support to:

  • Children and young people (up to 25 years) with SEND
  • Parents and carers of children with SEND
  • Practitioners (who might support children, young people or parents to access our service)

Defence Children Services (DCS)

DCS has responsibility for the functions, in support of service families related to education and care, previously undertaken by Defence Children and Young People (DCYP). DCS is a Defence delivery organisation, subordinated under Army Regional Command. DCS’ function is to support Service children and their Service families with educational needs. DCS provides a single focus for all issues related to Service children and young people, providing high-quality education at 22 schools and settings in locations around the world. DCS also directly supports Service families, providing advice on a wide range of educational matters both overseas and in the UK, delivered by specialist education and advisory teams.

Scotty’s Little Soldiers

Scotty’s Little Soldiers is a charity dedicated to supporting children & young people who have experienced the death of a parent who served in the British Armed Forces.


Families Get Active (York)

A project from the Workers Educational Association (WEA) and Sport England to help families find their own ways of being active together.