East Lancashire Hospitals (ELHT) NHS Trust has been named as a Veteran Aware Trust, in recognition of its commitment to improving NHS care for veterans, reservists, members of the armed forces and their families.
The accreditation, from the Veterans Covenant Healthcare Alliance (VC HA), acknowledges the trust’s commitment to a number of key pledges, including:
- 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.
- Training relevant staff on veteran specific culture or needs.
- Making veterans, reservists and service families aware of appropriate charities or NHS services beneficial to them, such as mental health services or support with financial and/or benefit claims.
- Supporting the armed forces as an employer.
ELHT is now one of 69 members of the VC HA and is part of a growing number of NHS Trusts gaining this accolade.
Kate Quinn, Operational Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development for the Trust said: “Here at ELHT we strive to be an exemplar of the best care for veterans and their families. We actively encourage all patients and staff to let us know if they currently serve or have ever served in the UK armed forces so that we can best support their needs.
“A number of our staff are veterans or currently serve in the Reserve Forces. This helps give us a real insight into how we can tailor our care to best suit the needs of our veterans, armed forces personnel and their families.”
Trusts recognised as Veteran Aware will display posters in their clinics and public waiting areas urging anyone who has served in the armed forces to make themselves known to staff.
In 2014, leading orthopaedic surgeon Professor Tim Briggs CBE wrote The Chavasse Report on improving armed forces and veteran care while raising NHS standards, which recommended establishing a support network of hospitals. The resulting VCHA works closely with NHS England and NHS Improvement, service charities and the Ministry of Defence.
Professor Briggs, NHS National Director for Clinical Improvement and co-chair of the VCHA, said: “These trusts should be very proud of the commitment they have made to the service men and women of this country. Welcoming them into the Veterans Covenant Hospital Alliance is a major step towards our aim of ensuring every NHS Trust in the country is Veteran Aware.”