Armed Forces Covenant



The Armed Forces Covenant is about fair treatment.  For most of the Armed Forces Community, the Covenant is about removing disadvantage; so that they get the same access to services as the civilian community.  The Armed Forces Covenant sets out the relationship between the nation, the government and the Armed Forces.  It recognises that the whole nation has a moral obligation to members of the Armed Forces and their families, and it establishes how they should be treated. 

The Covenants two principles are that: 

  • The Armed Forces community should not face disadvantage compared to other citizens in the provision of public and commercial services in the area where they live;
  • Special consideration is appropriate in some cases, especially for those who have given most such as the injured and the bereaved

A veteran is someone who has served in the armed forces for at least one day.  When servicemen and women leave the armed forces, their healthcare is the responsibility of the NHS.

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 a veteran to jump the queue ahead of someone with a higher clinical need.

The Armed Forces Community includes:

Regular Personnel – Individuals currently serving as members of the Naval Service (including the Royal Navy and Royal Marines), Army or Royal Air Force.

Reservists – Volunteer Reservists, who form the Royal Naval Reserve, Royal Marine Reserve,  Royal Auxiliary Air Force, and Regular Reservists, who comprise the Royal Fleet reserve, Army Reserve and Royal Airforce Reserve.

Veterans – Those who have served for at least a day in HM Armed Forces, whether as a Regular or as a Reservist.

Families of Regular Personnel, Reservists and Veterans – The immediate family of those in the categories listed above.  This is defined as spouses, civil partners and children for whom they are responsible, but can where appropriate extend to parents, unmarried partners and other family members.

Bereaved – The immediate family of Service Personnel and veterans who have died, whether or not that death has any connection with Service.

 Support Services


Need someone to talk to 24/7:

Call 116 123

Write the Samaritans an email, sometimes writing down your thoughts and feelings can helkp you understandstand them better, email: (24 hours response time)

Substance misuse support

If you or your loved ones need support through substance misuse recovery, there are some great organisations in Northamptonshire that support the armed forces community. Information provided to the following organisations will be treated in a confidential manner. You will be treated with utmost respect when accessing the services.

Organisations that support recovery

You can self-refer to the following organisations or get a referral through a professional. If you need help and advice please ensure you visit your GP or social worker, who can refer you to the appropriate organisation.


Bridge are primarily based in Northampton but operate countywide. They are a commissioned service that provide peer mentoring support. Clients must be at least 18 years of age to use their services. The mentors at Bridge have all overcome substance misuse and therefore have a good understanding of addiction and how to overcome it.

​Substance to Solution

Substance to Solution are a countywide organisation and work jointly with Bridge. They provide a vast range of services for every stage of your recovery including:

  • specialist prescriptions
  • family support
  • group sessions
  • detox

Find out more about Substance to Solution on the Change Grow Live website.


Aquarius raise awareness through training to frontline staff and volunteers about alcohol and drug abuse and gambling. They can also provide advice and support to families.

Support groups

In addition to the organisations that support recovery, there are informal support groups available in Northamptonshire.

Reach for Health

Reach for Health are signatories of the Armed Forces Covenant and offer a bespoke service for Veterans, Serving Personnel, Reservists and their families for Physical and Mental Health Rehabilitation following major health trauma or long long serious health issues

Armed Forces Veterans Breakfast Club

The Armed Forces Breakfast Clubs ( meet regularly across the country and provide a social network and informal support to veterans and their families.  The club is free to attend, but you do have to purchase your own breakfast.

In Northamptonshire we have the following clubs:


Saxon Crown Pub, NN17 1FN - Neil McKean, 


The Saracens Head, NN11 4GG - Chris Ward,


Poppy Fields Farm, NN5 6GT - Larry Mann, 


Needle & Awl, NN10 6EF - Richard Weaver, 


armed forces covenant


Pat Haslam
Armed Forces Covenant Lead
01604 651136

Kelly West
Communications and Engagement Manager
01604 651446

NHS Veterans’ Mental Health Transition, Intervention and Liaison Service (TILS) 
0300 323 0137

Last updated: 12/03/2020