Support for veterans and the armed forces community

As a Trust we are committed to supporting veterans and the armed forces community and align our values with the Armed Forces Covenant. 

Please let us know if you or your spouse/partner have ever served in the UK armed forces so that 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). Please note this is always subject to clinical need and will not entitle you to be prioritised ahead of someone with a greater clinical need.

For more information, please see our  Support veterans poster [pdf] 231KB

Support for veterans and the armed forces community

South West London & St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust (SWLSTG) has affirmed its support to the armed forces community by signing the Armed Forces Corporate Covenant.

The Corporate Covenant commits the Trust to upholding the key principles of the Armed Forces Covenant, which are:

  • no member of the Armed Forces Community should face disadvantage in the provision of public and commercial services compared to any other citizen; and
  • in some circumstances special treatment may be appropriate, especially for the injured or bereaved.

It also means the Trust will demonstrate its support by:

  • 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.

Veterans are defined as anyone who has served for at least one day in His Majesty’s Armed Forces (Regular or Reserve) or Merchant Mariners who have seen duty on legally defined military operations.

Veteran Aware 

We are proud to be working towards being Veteran Aware 

We are proud to be working towards being a Veteran Aware Trust. This accreditation from the Veterans Covenant Healthcare Alliance (VCHA) will recognises our commitment to driving improvements in care for veterans, reservists, members of the armed forces and their families, as well as supporting the armed forces as an employer.

For more information visit - Veterans Covenant Healthcare Alliance – Veterans Covenant Healthcare Alliance (

Services Providing Help and Support

The Veterans’ Gateway is a first point of contact for veterans and your families, and can put you in touch with both national and local organisations best placed to help with the information, advice and support you may need.

The Veterans’ Gateway can be contacted 24/7 by telephone (0808 802 1212), by text (81212) or online at

Armed Forces Covenant is the nation’s commitment to support those who are currently serving or have served in the armed forces and their families. This website provides useful links to support and advice including financial, housing, education, training and employment plus a lot more

Man with quote reading Op COURAGE - veterans mental health and wellbeing service

If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health, expert help is also available from
Op COURAGE: the Veterans Mental Health and Wellbeing Service.

After serving in the Armed Forces, some people find it hard to adjust to civilian life. If you’re struggling with your mental health and wellbeing, Op COURAGE: The Veterans Mental Health and Wellbeing Service is here to help.

Op COURAGE is an NHS service in England that’s been developed with people who’ve served in the Armed Forces and experienced mental ill-health. Every member of staff within the service is either from the Armed Forces or has experience of working with the military community. In partnership with Armed Forces charities and NHS services,
the staff at Op COURAGE provide specialist care, support and treatment for those due to leave the military,
reservists and those who’ve served. Since its launch in 2017, the service has helped nearly 30,000 veterans.

Click here to download free Op Courage posters and donwload the OpCourage_Toolkit to help raise awareness. 

What does Op COURAGE offer?

Op COURAGE provides a range of specialist support and treatment, depending on the needs of the individual – there’s no ‘one size fits all’. This might include helping you to recognise and treat early signs of mental ill health, as well as providing care and support for more advanced mental health conditions and psychological trauma.

In addition, the service provides support and treatment for a range of addictions, such as alcohol and drug misuse and gambling, and can refer you to other NHS services if needed. Op COURAGE also works with charities and local organisations to provide support for your wider health and wellbeing needs, which may include help with housing, relationships, finances and employment. We know that when someone is unwell it may affect the rest of the family, so Op COURAGE can support them access help and care too.

Who can Op COURAGE help?

Op COURAGE supports UK Armed Forces veterans living in England, as long as they have served a minimum of one full day, and regardless of how long ago they left the military. Op COURAGE also provides support to serving personnel due to leave the Armed Forces and reservists.

How do you access Op COURAGE?

You can contact Op COURAGE directly to make an  appointment or ask someone else, such as a family member, friend, charity or health professional to make it for you. You can also ask your GP to refer you, but you don’t have to go through your GP to get an appointment.

For details of our local service, visit


Other services:

  • Veterans’ Trauma Network the Veterans’ Trauma Network provides 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 your GP at england.veteranstraumanetwork@nhs.netFor more information, email Blesma at or call 0208 548 7080.
  • Combat Stress ( Provides information on living with PTSD and a confidential helpline for veterans, families and carers. The website provides details of local outreach centres for veterans or their families to get in touch with if they need support in person. 24-hour helpline: 0800 138 1619
  • SSAFA ( Information for veterans and their families, providing support on issues such as housing and benefits. Also, provide information over the phone: 0845 241 7141
  • The Royal British Legion ( Offers welfare support for veterans and their family members nationwide: 0808 802 8080
  • Veterans Aid ( Offers support with accommodation, substance misuse and other welfare issues: 0800 012 68 67 or 020 7828 2468
  • STOLL ( Stoll offer housing and support to veterans in London.  In addition, Stoll offer activities and a monthly London Veterans Drop-in, as well as outreach: 020 7385 2110 or email
  • The Poppy Factory ( The country’s leading employment charity for veterans with health conditions or impairments: 020 8940 3305
  • King Edward VII Hospital - Centre For Veterans’ Health ( The hospital runs a veterans pain clinic and a pain management programme in Marylebone: 020 7467 4344
  • The Official Armed Forces and Veterans Breakfast Clubs ( Facilitate veterans (also quite often current service personnel) to meet face to face in a relaxed,  safe, social environment.