UK Armed Forces

The Armed Forces Covenant is an agreement by the nation and the Government that the Armed Forces community should not face disadvantage compared to other citizens in the provision of public and commercial services. The three key areas of the Covenant (health, education and housing) are largely the responsibility of local authorities and NHS authority areas.


  • Health needs

A recent systematic review found that overall, veterans appear to be as likely as the general population to rate their health as ‘good’ or ‘very good’ and report similar levels of long-term illness.  There are also areas where former members of the Armed Forces appear healthier than the general public, such as cancer rates among those born after 1960.

However, the ex-military population appears less healthy than the general public in some respects, such as mental health and hearing impairments. There is a subpopulation of ex-military personnel at increased risk of a range of adverse outcomes such as mental illness, alcohol misuse and homelessness. These people are typically young, male, less highly educated, served in a combat role and/or left service early.

The review concluded that the Ministry of Defence, local authorities, and providers of health and other services should work together to identify those service leavers at highest risk of adverse outcomes.


Information about the Armed Forces community in Oldham is presented below:

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) collaborated with the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and set up a data linkage study to identify working age UK Armed Forces veterans in the 2011 Census. Data were published in September 2018 showing the size and characteristics of the UK armed forces veteran population (16 to 64 years of age). Click on the link above for headline data for Oldham. A summary of the national findings can be accessed here.

Using more recent data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and the MOD, it is estimated that there are around 7268 veterans of all ages (16 to 90+ years) living in Oldham. A summary of the national findings can be accessed here.

  • Armed Forces Steering Group

Work is underway to develop an Armed Forces Steering Group to promote the health and wellbeing of armed forces personnel, veterans and their families.  For more information, please contact Mike Bridges: mike.bridges@oldham.gov.uk.

The Ex-Forces Action Network (E-FAN) is a new initiative which aims to provide a unique and comprehensive service to veterans in Cheshire and Greater Manchester. The project connects ex-forces personnel, who’ve had any contact with the criminal justice system, to a wide range of services tailored specially for those who have served in the UK armed forces.