Supporting our armed forces community

Supporting our Armed Forces

We commit to helping members of the armed forces community to have fair access to our services.

Our commitment: the Armed Forces Covenant

We are proud to have signed the Armed Forces Covenant.

The Covenant is a promise from the nation that those who serve or have served in the armed forces, and their families, are treated fairly.

We signed the Armed Forces Covenant in January 2019 and renewed our commitment in 2021. We will ensure that members of the armed forces community have the same access to our services as any other citizen.

Armed forces covenant symbol

Support for patients and families

Veteran Aware logo
Veterans and their families

In Sussex we are proud of our military heritage. We will ensure that military veterans and their families face no disadvantage when accessing our services.

If you have served in the military, please let us know, so that we can better serve you.

We are a Veteran Aware Trust. This means we are leading the way in improving veterans’ care within the NHS, as part of the Veterans Covenant Healthcare Alliance (VCHA).

We have made a series of pledges, such as:

  • ensuring members of the armed forces community are never disadvantaged when receiving care
  • training staff on veteran-specific needs, and
  • supporting the armed forces as an employer.

If you have any questions about your care, contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Team (PALS) via email.

Musculoskeletal clinic for service personnel and veterans (Chavasse clinic)

Our Chavasse Clinic is a specialist musculoskeletal clinic for service personnel (regular or reserve) and veterans. It is held monthly at the Fracture Clinic, Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton.

Appropriate medical practitioners (e.g. GP, physio) can complete a Chavasse Clinic referral form and email it to bsu-tr.outpatientbookings@nhs.net.

Pre-booked appointments are available monthly from 8.30am – 1pm on Thursdays.

Support for employees

Defence Employer Recognition Scheme

The Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) encourages employers to support defence and inspire others to do the same.

We achieved the gold award in 2019. This means that as an employer we have pledged, demonstrated and advocated support for defence and the armed forces community.

We display the defence employer recognition scheme logo
Supporting staff who serve in the armed forces

We are lucky to employ a significant number of serving military personnel.

Some of our staff are members of the Reserve (part-time) forces. Reservists give up their spare time, outside of their normal NHS role, to serve in the armed forces.

We also host regular military personnel in our hospitals. This enables military nurses and doctors to gain experience and skills within various teams such as our Major Trauma Centre, Critical Care, Theatres, Anaesthetics and Trauma & Orthopaedics.

We offer many incentives to our serving armed forces personnel, including:

  • Two weeks extra leave for annual deployment exercises
  • A dedicated Armed Forces Policy
  • Access to our occupational health service, including self-referral to counselling.
  • Membership of our dedicated Armed Forces Network (AFN)
  • Armed forces drop-in sessions run by our armed forces lead, who is a serving reserve officer.
  • Military induction for cohorts of regular military personnel
  • Support from our armed forces lead with policies and processes
  • Mentoring new Reserve recruits where necessary
  • Collaboration with local Reserve units on deployment, training and education.

If you are an employee of the trust and a Reservist, contact your armed forces champion to find out how they can support you.

Supporting the armed forces community to work for us

We recognise the values and transferable skills that the armed forces community can bring to the NHS such as;

  • Leadership and management
  • Communication and teamwork
  • Loyalty and commitment
  • Ability to adapt to change

We are an active member of the Step into Health programme. The programme supports the armed forces community to access the career opportunities available in the NHS.

As a member organisation, we provide support and advice about working in the NHS. To access this, register for Step into Health.

To reach candidates in the armed forces community, we advertise jobs with the following organisations:

We provide mentors for Project FORTIS, the careers network for service leavers and veterans.

Our Armed Forces Network

Our Armed Forces Network (AFN) connects members of staff from the armed forces community to provide mutual support and advice.

Membership is open to anyone who wants to support the armed forces community. This includes staff, patients, relatives and others.

We encourage staff to become service champions. These are the staff who champion the armed forces community within our organisation. Free online service champions training is provided by the Sussex Armed Forces Network. The training will support you to understand the armed forces community and how you can be of help.

Drop-in sessions and events
  • 04 Nov 21: 2pm-3pm, RSCH, The Waves restaurant
  • 12 Jan 22: 1:30pm-2:30pm, WH, The Spice of Life restaurant
  • 03 Feb 22: 1:30pm -2:30pm, MS Teams online (contact for link)
  • 10 Feb 22: 10am-11am, SRH, The Spice of Life restaurant
  • 03 Mar 22: 10am-11am, PRH, The Bluebells restaurant
  • 20 Apr 22: 10am-11am, WH, The Spice of Life restaurant
  • 18 May 22: 10am-11am, SRH, The Spice of Life restaurant
  • 17 Jun 22: 1pm-2pm, MS Teams online (contact for link)
  • 20 Jul 22: 10am-11am, RSCH, The Waves restaurant
  • 31 Aug 22: 10am-11am, PRH, The Bluebells restaurant
  • 29 Sep 22: 10am-11am, WH, The Spice of Life restaurant
  • 24 Oct 22: 10am-11am, SRH, The Spice of Life restaurant
  • 21 Nov 22: 10am-11am, RSCH, The Waves restaurant

Further information

Contact details

Our armed forces lead is Lt Col Alex Saunders QARANC: uhsussex.armedforces@nhs.net