The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Patients & Visitors

Armed Forces Community Patients

The Armed Forces community includes:
1. UK Armed Forces serving personnel (regular and reserve)
2. The spouse, partner or children of these serving personnel
3. UK Veterans. A veteran is defined as anyone who has served for at least one day in HM Armed Forces (Regular or Reserve) – this includes national service and Royal Fleet Auxiliary (served on named missions).

In accordance with the NHS Constitution and Armed Forces Covenant, members of the Armed Forces Community must not be disadvantaged due to their service or family member's service.

There are 1.85 million Veterans in the UK.

For more information to support veterans and families please visit the NHS Services Armed Forces Community website.

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Covenant commitment

Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust is committed to honouring the Armed Forces covenant.  Our Chief Executive, Sir Julian Hartley, signed the Armed Forces covenant commitment on 30 March 2017 and will resign this commitment in 2023.  We are accredited by the Veterans Covenant Hospital Alliance as a Veterans Aware Trust.

The covenant gained Royal assent in December 2021.  Specifically healthcare providers are expected to:

  • Ensure the Armed Forces community does not experience disadvantage as a result of their service compared to other citizens.
  • Give special consideration as appropriate in some cases for those who have given the most such as the injured or bereaved.
  • Retain places of family members on NHS waiting lists if moved around the UK due to the service person being posted.
  • Give veterans priority treatment for a service related health condition/injury, subject to clinical need.
  • Care for veterans in a way which reflects the nation’s moral obligation and by healthcare professionals with an understanding of the Armed Forces culture.


What can I do as an Armed Forces community patient? 

(You may be supporting a patient in following these suggestions).

  1. Identify your connection to the Armed Forces community and your circumstances (for example: if your treatment or attendance schedule is constrained by service).  Our Trust is working towards making your declared connection to the Armed Forces community information more easily viewable to our care teams on your confidential electronic patient record.
  2. Ask about referral to OP COURAGE.  This offers mental health support for veterans, service leavers and reservists.
  3. If you are an in-patient ask about additional nationally based discharge support services for patients who are members of the Armed Forces Community.
  4. Signpost your healthcare provider to the Armed Forces covenant if you think it is relevant to your care.


Armed Forces community (AFC) working group at LTHT

We have an established AFC working group which meet several times per year to facilitate our Trust in delivering the covenant commitment.  The working group is led by:

  • AFC Management champion: Ben Grange, deputy manager theatres and anaesthetics LGI.
  • AFC Clinical champion: Tim Stansfield, consultant resuscitative and vascular surgeon.

Please be aware that any concerns or complaints should not come to this team. Information about how to raise a concern/complaint is available on the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) and Complaints section of this website.