Health and social care for armed forces personnel

Members of the armed forces are looked after while they are serving; it can be a challenge when that level of support ends and service personnel then have to turn to NHS provision for health services with little knowledge of what services are available and how to navigate the system.

Salford has a number of organisations committed to providing health and wellbeing support to all past and present armed forces personnel and their families.

Help for Heroes

Help for Heroes supports those with injuries and illnesses sustained while serving in the British Armed Forces, no matter when. It does this through many ways, including Sports Recovery; Psychological Support; Health and Wellbeing; Career Recovery and welfare. It also supports the whole family.

Such support is delivered via Help for Heroes Recovery Centres (the nearest to Salford is Phoenix House in Catterick Garrison), individual grants, a network of specialist charity partners and organisations, and its Band of Brothers and Band of Sisters fellowships which often hold events in the Manchester area.

You don’t have to travel to a Recovery Centre to receive support. Veterans of all conflicts, as well as family members of those still serving, who struggle with everyday mental health challenges such as anxiety, depression, anger and alcohol habits, can access free and confidential support by phone or Skype through Help for Heroes Hidden Wounds service.

Find out more on the Help for Heroes website.

Veterans trauma network

The NHS, together with the MOD, BLESMA, Blind Veterans UK and Style for Soldiers, has recently launched a veterans trauma network, which has been developed following feedback from veterans, their families and GPs.

The network aims to provide specialist care for patients with service related traumatic injuries and conditions and responds to a call for both clinical assurance on the advice and excellence of care and a supportive ‘safety net’ to meet the ongoing health needs of injured military personnel transitioning out of the service and veterans. 

Located in ten major trauma centres across England (Plymouth, Oxford, London (three centres), Birmingham, Nottingham, Liverpool, Leeds and Middlesborough), 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. 

Referrals to the network can be made via a GP to or via BLESMA, which is the umbrella charity for the veterans trauma network (email at or telephone at 0208 548 7080). Blind Veterans UK and Style for Soldiers can also assist in referring veterans to the network.

Early use of the network is already highlighting better care and health outcomes for patients, as shown in this video

For further information on the service or referrals, please email or

Priority NHS Care for Veterans

When servicemen and women leave the armed forces, their healthcare is the responsibility of the NHS.  All armed forces personnel are entitled to priority access to NHS hospital care for any condition, as long as it is related to their service, whether or not they receive a war pension.   

Registering with an NHS GP in Salford

You should register with your local GP at the earliest opportunity, simply choose your surgery. Please inform the GP surgery that ‘you have served' to ensure that the GP practice is aware of your priority status.

Registering with a Dentist

Everyone should be able to access good-quality NHS dental service that is convenient for them.

Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust

The accident and emergency department is based at Salford Royal (Hope Hospital).

Veterans’ Gateway

Veterans’ Gateway is for any ex-service personnel and their families looking for advice or support – whatever they’re dealing with.

They provide the first point of contact to a network of military and non-military partner organisations to help you find exactly what you
need, when you need it - whether you’re in the UK or overseas.

For 24-hour support visit the Veterans’ Gateway website or call 0808 802 1212.

MyCity Health

The MyCity Health website provides a range of information on lots of different topics, from lifestyles, to advice to managing a housing problem.

Achieve Drug and Alcohol Service

Salford Recovery Services brings together people from a range of organisations, backgrounds and experience to deliver services, opportunities, treatments and therapies for people seeking help in tackling their own drug or alcohol use, or that of a loved one.

Achieve are committed to working alongside ex-service men, military veterans and specialist organisations to ensure that their unique experiences are considered when developing recovery goals and increasing community engagement.

Blind Veterans

BlindVeteransUK is the only charity dedicated to providing free, lifelong support and services for veterans with severe sight loss, no matter when they served or how they lost their sight.

Health Improvement Service

The Health Improvement Service works with individuals, families and communities to help them achieve simple and rewarding health and lifestyle changes. The service is free, locally based, and open to people of all ages that live in Salford. 

They can also help you to set up your own new community group, on a topic that interests you. If you're a member of the armed forces and you'd like to get healthier, the Health Improvement Service will work with you to help you set your fitness goal. Then they'll provide you with a free Healthy Lifestyle Pass that you can use at all Salford Community Leisure sites to help to get you started.


SSAFA provides practical, emotional and financial support to anyone who is serving or has served and their families.  Whenever you need SSAFA they will do whatever they can to help. The Salford branch can be emailed or contacted on 0161 728 4809.

Greater Manchester West Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust

Greater Manchester West Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust provides district mental health services in Bolton, Salford and Trafford. Individually developed and recovery focused services are delivered through both inpatient and community-based means.

Pennine Care Trust Military Veterans Service

Pennine Care Trust Military Veterans Service is an NHS psychological therapy service working with British ex service personnel across the North West.

Combat Stress

Combat Stress is one of the UK's leading Veterans mental health charities.

Direct Transitioning Help

Direct Transitioning Help is a foundation, rather than a charity, and will be funded entirely through fundraising and Grants during the initial years.

Founded by former British Army Sergeant, Gemma Gardner, who was medically discharged and had a complete mental breakdown, and has since become a businesswoman, ladies network leader and a spokesperson for mental health in the armed forces. This year she has pitched to Sir Richard Branson’s VOOM 2016.

Start in Salford

Start in Salford use creativity to help vulnerable people from all walks of life improve their skills and gain in confidence. Members often make remarkable progress and soon learn how to become valued members of the community, contributing in ways they themselves could never have imagined.

Big White Wall

Big White Wall is a safe online community of people who are anxious, down or not coping who support and help each other by sharing what's troubling them, guided by trained professionals.

The MOD Army

The army provides a range of welfare support to families while soldiers are away. This support is provided to both regular army families and to those of mobilised members of the Territorial Army or the Regular Reserve.

The Navy Families Federation

The Navy Families Federation provides details of organisations that specialise in advising family members.

The Royal Air Force Families Federation

The Royal Air Force Families Federation provides service personnel and their families with information and advice ranging from relationships to relocations and from education to professional welfare support.

Information for carers

Members or ex-members of the armed forces who are either carers or are being cared for by someone else are encouraged to seek advice about the support which is available to them, and to register with Salford Carers Centre in order to receive regular advice and information.

Disabilities and help with everyday living

The Adult Social Care Team is the first point of contact to discuss your support needs on 0161 631 4777. Please make yourself known to a member of the team that you are ex armed forces. Please note Salford disregards 100% of the following in relation to charging for non residential services:

  • War Disablement Pension
  • War Pensioners Mobility Supplement
  • War Widows Special Payment  
  • Anything over the basic state pension rate of any war widows pension

Disabled Living is a charity based in Wardley that can advise you about disability equipment. You can try out some of the to see what might help best. They can be contacted on 0161 607 8200.

This page was last updated on 14 March 2019

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