Armed Forces Community

Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is committed to armed forces friendly policy and practices in employment and the delivery of our health care services.

The Trust understands, respects, and supports, the commitment and sacrifices that members of the armed forces community make to ensure the safety of this country, and we understand our moral duty to the community and our obligation to show due regard that no member of the community suffers disadvantage when accessing our services when compared to those not in the armed forces community.

As a Trust we understand the many and complex challenges that the armed forces community and their relatives can face, and we strive to deliver services and offer employment opportunities with understanding, sensitivity, and support.

We have signed the Armed Forces Covenant and our commitments can be viewed in our Signed Covenant document.

In 2023 we were honoured to become a Veteran Aware Trust, a demonstration of our ongoing commitment to improving NHS care for veterans, reservists, members of the Armed Forces and their families.

Veteran Aware
Veteran Aware logo

We have a dedicated armed forces lead who champions armed forces community issues across the organisation, see contact details below, and we collaborate with local and national organisations to ensure we continue to learn from best practice so that we can progress in our journey as an armed forces friendly Trust.

Working for us

Silver Award – Armed Forces Covenant

Bridgewater has been awarded the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme Silver Award in recognition of our efforts in supporting and welcoming the armed forces community.

This includes ex-armed forces, reservists, and their families, into work in the NHS.

We offer a guaranteed interview to members of the armed forces community who use the armed forces identifier on NHS Jobs applications and meet the essential criteria for a role.

We are also increasing the visibility of our vacancies and employment offer through the armed forces specific recruitment websites.

We actively support mobilisation recognising the experiences it can bring back into the workplace.

We are also launching our new Reservist Policy and Armed Forces Toolkit in 2024.

Both intended to improve and embed support for the wider armed forces community within our workforce and looking for employment with Bridgewater.

Accessing our services

As part of our commitments and legal obligations we offer priority treatment to serving and former armed forces personnel where treatment relates to military service; this is based on clinical need.

We know that there will be circumstances where a civilian’s clinical need must take priority.

Please alert staff to your status as a serving forces member or military veteran so that this can be noted in your patient record.

We also ensure that armed forces families are not disadvantaged.

For example, when moving into the area and joining an existing service waiting list. Again, please alert staff so that information can be noted in your patient record.

Armed Forces support services

You can find the details below for specific services for the armed forces community.

These include services for physical health and wellbeing, mental health and health for homelessness.

There is more information on support for disabled veterans, support for families, and financial support at on the NHS veterans service leavers non-mobilised reservists webpage.


Formerly called the Veterans Trauma Network OpRESTORE.

The Veterans Physical Health and Wellbeing Service is a service for anyone who has served one day or more in the UK armed forces who has acquired a significant, lasting physical injury or illness as a result of their service.

OpRESTORE is accessible via GP referral, and through a network of civilian and military consultants and welfare support via military charities takes a holistic approach to restoring health and wellbeing. For more information go to NHS veterans service leavers non-mobilised reservists webpage.


OpCOURAGE is delivered under a single service specification, having previously been commissioned as three individual services:

  • Veterans’ Mental Health Transition, Intervention and Liaison Service (TILS)
  • Veterans’ Mental Health Complex Treatment Service (CTS)
  • Veterans’ Mental Health High Intensity Service (HIS)

Regional contact details for the North are as follows:

Telephone: 03003 733 332

Op COMMUNITY: Armed Forces Community Support

Following a robust engagement exercise with service users and providers on an appropriate name for the single point of contact service for Armed Forces families, this is now called Op COMMUNITY: Armed Forces Community Support.

This model of care navigation for those in the wider Armed Forces community seeks to ensure individuals and families are able to access NHS services without disadvantage.


Veterans across the UK will have access to Op FORTITUDE, a new dedicated referral pathway for homeless veterans, including those sleeping on the streets.

The hotline is part of a two-year £8.55 million programme to fulfil the Government’s pledge to end veteran rough sleeping.

The housing hotline, delivered by Riverside group, will give homeless veterans a single point of contact to get them the help they need.

Op FORTITUDE staff will refer callers to a network of support, including housing providers, charities and local authorities.

Veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness and the organisations working with them are encouraged to contact the Op FORTITUDE hotline from Monday 3 July 2023 on 0800 952 0774 or through a secure web portal at

Further information can be found at

Operation Stirling

Age UK, in partnership with Fighting With Pride, is delivering Operation Sterling – a programme to help older LGBT+ veterans, who were adversely affected by the ban on LGBT+ personnel serving in the Armed Forces.

Operation Sterling will provide telephone based support, advice and casework to older LGBT+ veterans through Age UK’s Advice Line; combining the expertise of Age UK together with the expert knowledge of Fighting With Pride. Operation Stirling will be able to help older LGBT+ veterans access financial support, housing options and social care.

LGBT+ veterans who served in the Armed Forces who would like to access Operation Sterling’s specialised support, can do so by visiting the Fighting With Pride website to start the referral process.

At Your Side

Guides for those bereaved by suicide in the armed forces community.

Designed by and for the bereaved in the community the new guides are for veterans, families, or serving personnel.

Go to ‘At Your Side’ – Suicide Bereavement UK.

Little Troopers

Little Troopers is a registered charity supporting children with one or both parents serving in the armed forces regulars or reserves.

Little Troopers offers a new therapy programme for children of armed forces families, this includes free one to one psychotherapy sessions, community therapy sessions for older children, and a new on demand session for adults on how to support their children at home.

For more information go to

Signposting to useful information

Information on all these organisations can be found in the document below:

Contact details

For questions and comments regarding the Trust’s armed forces friendly work please contact the lead at