Armed Forces Covenant

An Enduring Covenant Between The People of the United Kingdom Her Majesty’s Government and all those who serve or have served in the Armed Forces of the Crown and their Families.

The first duty of Government is the defence of the realm. Our Armed Forces fulfil that responsibility on behalf of the Government, sacrificing some civilian freedoms, facing danger and, sometimes, suffering serious injury or death as a result of their duty. Families also play a vital role in supporting the operational effectiveness of our Armed Forces.

In return, the whole nation has a moral obligation to the members of the Naval Service, the Army and the Royal Air Force, together with their families. They deserve our respect and support, and fair treatment.

Those who serve in the Armed Forces, whether Regular or Reserve, those who have served in the past, and their families, should face no disadvantage compared to other citizens in the provision of public and commercial services. Special consideration is appropriate in some cases, especially for those who have given most such as the injured and the bereaved.

This obligation involves the whole of society: it includes voluntary and charitable bodies, private organisations, and the actions of individuals in supporting the Armed Forces. Recognising those who have performed military duty unites the country and demonstrates the value of their contribution. This has no greater expression than in upholding this Covenant.

Section 1: Principles Of The Armed Forces Covenant

Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust will endeavour in our business dealings to uphold 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;
  • in some circumstances special treatment may be appropriate especially for the injured or bereaved.

Section 2: Demonstrating our Commitment

Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust recognises the value serving personnel, veterans and military families bring to our workforce.
We will seek to support the Step into Health programme by agreeing to the following:

  • Reviewing recruitment practices and removing any barriers to recruiting members of the Armed Forces community.
  • Sharing dedicated Step into Health contact details.
  • Building a relationship with the Career Transition Partnership (CTP).
  • Using the Step into Health branding to promote consistent messages about the programme.
  • Using the Step into Health candidate system to record interactions with potential candidates and to refer between NHS organisations as required.

Our organisation will also enhance our commitment to Step into Health by:

  • Hosting insight days/virtual events to raise awareness of NHS careers with the Armed Forces community.
  • Offering work placements/tailored support to the Armed Forces community and provide support to those who apply for a vacancy.
  • Providing support for those service leavers who have additional needs.
  • Promoting the programme and sharing messaging via our website and social media.
  • Supporting and encouraging alumni networks
  • Partnering with other NHS organisations in the region to share best practice and make efficient use of resources.
  • Supporting candidates in the NHS who may wish to settle elsewhere
  • Supporting, where possible, forces families who need to locate for service reasons
  • Liaising, when required, with other NHS organisations who have hosted candidates moving to your region

We will publicise these commitments through our literature and/or on our website, setting out how we will seek to honour them and inviting engagement from the Armed Forces community to develop this further.

Veterans’ mental health support

Mental illness is common and can affect anyone, including serving and ex-members of the Armed Forces and their families.

While some people cope with support from their family and friends, or by getting help with other issues in their lives, others need clinical care and treatment, which could be from the NHS, support groups or charities.

The leaflet at the link below provides information on how to obtain support:

NHS mental health care for veterans – (pdf)

Veterans can also visit the government website for employment schemes for veterans.

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Page last reviewed: 10 July, 2023