Veteran Aware hospitals are leading the way in improving veterans' care within the NHS, as part of the Veterans Covenant Hospital Alliance (VCHA).
Veteran Aware hospitals will:
- provide leaflets and posters to veterans and their families explaining what to expect
- train relevant staff to be aware of veterans’ needs and the commitments of the NHS under the Armed Forces Covenant
- inform staff if a veteran or their GP has told the hospital they have served in the armed forces
- ensure that the armed forces community do not face disadvantage compared to other citizens when accessing NHS services
- signpost to extra services that might be provided to the armed forces community by a charity or service organisation in the hospital
- look into what services are available in their locality, which patients would benefit from being referred to after a hospital stay
The first 25 hospitals that have been accredited as 'Veteran Aware' are as follows:
- Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals, Sussex Armed Forces Network;
- Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust;
- City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust;
- Doncaster and Bassetlaw Foundation Trust;
- East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust;
- Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust;
- Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust;
- Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust;
- Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust;
- Norfolk and Norwich NHS Foundation Trust;
- North Bristol NHS Trust;
- North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust;
- Northumbria NHS Foundation Trust;
- North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust;
- Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust;
- Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Hospital NHS Foundation Trust;
- Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust;
- Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust;
- Royal Edinburgh Hospitals, NHS Lothian;
- Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Trust;
- Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust;
- South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust;
- Cardiff and Vale University Health Board;
- University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust
- Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust
The recognition means that patients who have served in the UK armed forces will be cared for by frontline staff who have received training and education on their specific needs and who can also signpost them to other local support services e.g. Mental Health.
We must do everything we can to ensure the NHS continues to support those who have given so much to our country through the armed forces. Being 'Veteran Aware' allows trusts to show that they are doing that.
As we mark the Armistice centenary and accredit the first 25 hospitals, we are calling on other trusts to apply to do the same. In doing so, we will work towards ending the nationwide variation in access to local services for veterans.
Dr Jeremy Marlow, Executive Director of Operational Productivity at NHS Improvement and co-chair of the Veterans Covenant Hospitals Alliance
How to become a Veteran Aware NHS trust:
Our ambition is to have 75 NHS providers accredited by the end of 2019. We will continue to guide and equip our next cohort of volunteer hospitals to help demonstrate that they are Veteran Aware. This will involve hospitals sharing good practice in linking with local services for veterans and raising staff awareness of the Armed Forces Covenant.
The introduction of the Veteran Aware standard for hospitals and the Veteran Friendly GP practices are really excellent initiatives. This is brilliant news for all and shows really effective working relationships between the MOD, the NHS and the charity sector. Great for all who serve and have served their nation.
Nicky Murdoch, Chair of the Armed Forces Public Patient Participation Involvement Group