NHS Kent and Medway supports our armed forces community in a number of ways, whether it is as an employer to reservists, veterans and/or partners or as a provider ensuring commissioned services understand the needs of this community.
In July 2022, we were awarded gold in the Ministry of Defence's Emplyer Recognition Scheme.
We are working with the Armed Forces Network for Sussex and Kent and Medway which offers training, support and guidance across sectors to individuals and professionals in meeting the needs of the armed forces community.
The Armed Forces Act 2021 has been approved by parliament, placing a new set of expectations on healthcare systems to meet the needs of our armed forces personnel and their families.
The legislation is expected to come into force in June 2022, placing additional requirements on integrated care systems to commit to the Armed Forces Covenant, making sure our armed forces community is not disadvantaged when accessing essential services like healthcare, education and housing.
The Armed Forces Network for Kent and Medway is hosted by Sussex Integrated Care System.
The covenant is a pledge from the nation to those who have served (and their immediate families) in the British Armed Forces making sure they do not suffer disadvantages as a result of their service.
The covenant was signed before the creation of NHS Kent and Medway Integrated Care Board (NHSKM), but continues to reflect our commitment to supporting those who have served in the British Armed Forces, and their families.
From July 2015, the NHS Constitution was updated and one of the principles, the patient will be at the heart of everything the NHS does, now states:
As part of this, the NHS will ensure, in-line with the Armed Forces Covenant, those in the armed forces, reservists, their families and veterans are not disadvantaged in accessing health services in the area they reside.
You can contact the Armed Forces Network through their website, by phone: 01273 403693 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Defence Relationship Management (DRM) which partners with organisations throughout the UK, helping them understand the value of signing the covenant and building mutually beneficial partnerships with Defence. The DRM also provides support on employing reservists, veterans, cadet force adult volunteers and military spouses and improving fairness for the armed forces community in the consumer market.
NHS Employers is taking action to make sure the NHS considers the armed forces community by bringing together employers from across London and the South NHS Employers Network.
Step into Health offers an access route into employment and other career development opportunities within the NHS to members of the armed forces community. NHS Employers supports organisations in adopting the programme, making sure Step into Health is embedded into recruitment strategies and workforce supply routes.
The programme recognises the transferable skills and cultural values that armed forces personnel have developed, and how these skills and values are compatible with working in the NHS.
Members of the armed forces community can get support from Op COURAGE: The Veterans Mental Health and Wellbeing Service.
Op COURAGE is an NHS mental health specialist service designed to help serving personnel due to leave the military, reservists, armed forces veterans and their families.
There is also a range of support through the Armed Forces Network website.