As the nation marked the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, the NHS celebrated the first wave of new Veteran Aware hospitals with an event at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, Stanmore, last week.
Some 25 acute hospital trusts, all accredited by the Veterans Covenant Hospital Alliance (VCHA), a network facilitated by GIRFT and NHS Improvement, are now leading the way in improving NHS care for veterans and members of the armed forces community by:
- Providing training to staff to be aware of veterans’ specific needs;
- Making past and present servicemen and women aware of appropriate charities or NHS services beneficial to them, such as mental health services or support with financial and/or benefit claims;
- Ensuring that the armed forces community is never disadvantaged compared to other patients, in line with the NHS’s commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant.
In 2014, Professor Tim Briggs CBE, co-chair of the VCHA and chair of the GIRFT programme, wrote The Chavasse Report on improving armed forces and veteran care while raising NHS standards. His report recommended establishing a support network of hospitals. The resulting VCHA works closely with NHS Improvement, NHS England, service charities and the Ministry of Defence.
Lieutenant General Martin Bricknell, Surgeon General, said: “The strong partnership between the MoD and the NHS highlights our commitment to the through-life care of our service personnel and veterans. The Veteran Aware scheme is a fantastic initiative that will ensure the particular needs of the Armed Forces community are at the heart of their care."
Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, said: "Veteran Aware hospitals will help provide integrated care and a single source of advice to veterans on the support available to them and I want to see this initiative rolled out across the country."
We encourage all trusts to apply to become Veteran Aware. Further information is available online and by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org