The Shrewsbury & Telford Hospital NHS Trust and Calderdale & Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust have joined a wave of NHS providers named as Veteran Aware for their commitment to improving care for veterans, reservists and members of the armed forces community.
The accreditation, from the Veterans Covenant Healthcare Alliance (VCHA), acknowledges the trusts’ commitment to a number of key 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.
Trusts recognised as Veteran Aware are also expected to display posters in their clinics and waiting rooms, highlighting their status and encouraging members of the armed forces community to identify themselves to staff.
The Shrewsbury & Telford Hospital NHS Trust and Calderdale & Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust join 47 other acute and mental health services across the country that have achieved the status.
The VCHA was inspired by the heroism of Captain Noel Godfrey Chavasse VC and Bar, a doctor who gave his life rescuing men on the battlefields of the First World War.
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, and is managed by the Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT) programme.
Professor Briggs, Chair of GIRFT, NHS National Director for Clinical Improvement and Chair of the VCHA, commented: “I’m very proud to welcome two more NHS trusts to the Veterans Covenant Healthcare Alliance. Both have made a clear and important commitment to the servicemen and women of this country, and it’s great to be able to recognise their hard work through this accreditation.”
The VCHA is working with NHS trusts across the country to improve standards of care for the armed forces community. In time, the alliance hopes to see every NHS provider meeting the Veteran Aware standards.