Gloucestershire Health and Care (GHC) NHS Foundation Trust was officially awarded its Veteran Aware accreditation yesterday (23 June) during a visit from one of the county’s Deputy Lieutenants.
Colonel Andy Hodson was “delighted” to present the accreditation on behalf of the Veterans Covenant Healthcare Alliance (VCHA), in recognition of the Trust’s commitment to improving NHS care for veterans, reservists, members of the Armed Forces and their families.
In a brief ceremony attended by some of the Trust’s very own veterans, the accreditation was received by Chief Executive Paul Roberts, Trust Chair Ingrid Barker and Community Services Manager Jonathan Thomas, the Trust’s Veterans Steering Group Lead.
Upon receiving the accreditation Ingrid Barker said: “This demonstrates a commitment that Gloucestershire Health and Care will train its colleagues to understand veterans’ needs and ensure members of the Armed Forces community do not face disadvantage when seeking help from our services.”
The Trust received Veteran Aware accreditation in May this year in acknowledgement of its 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.
GHC joins a growing list of VHCA members and NHS Trusts gaining this accolade. Chief Executive Paul Roberts said: “Here at Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust, we strive to provide the best possible care for veterans and their families. We actively encourage all patients and colleagues 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 colleagues 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.
“At times over the past 16 months, the NHS has felt like the frontline, and this has given us a real and deep appreciation of the contribution our veterans have made to our society and communities over many decades.”
This award further demonstrates the Trust’s commitment to supporting veterans and the Armed Forces community, and follows its signing of the Armed Forces Covenant in 2019 and receiving bronze accreditation from the Ministry of Defence Employer Recognition Scheme in March this year.
Yesterday’s presentation was particularly timely, as the country prepares to mark Armed Forces Day this Saturday (26 June).