We are delighted to announce that Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS FT has been named a Veteran Aware Trust, in recognition of its commitment to driving improvements in NHS care for veterans, reservists, members of the armed forces and their families.
Veteran Aware Trusts are leading the way in improving veterans’ care within the NHS, as part of the Veterans Covenant Healthcare Alliance (VCHA).
This accreditation from the VCHA 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.
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, this year, 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.”
Trust Chair Ingrid Barker continued: “This accreditation 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.
“It builds on the Trust signing the Armed Forces Covenant in 2019 and receiving bronze accreditation from the Ministry of Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) in March this year.”
Neil Savage, Director of HR and Organisational Development, added: “The Trust has been granted the status in recognition of its commitment to improving NHS care for veterans, reservists and members of the armed forces, and that means we aim to ensure members of the armed forces community are not disadvantaged when receiving care, that our staff will be briefed and/or trained on veteran-specific needs, and that we will continue to support the armed forces as an employer through our health care provision.”
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.
The VCHA was inspired by the heroism of Captain Noel Godfrey Chavasse VC, a doctor who gave his life rescuing men on the battlefields of the World War I.
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 servicemen and women of this country. Welcoming them into the Veterans Covenant Healthcare Alliance is a major step towards our aim of ensuring every NHS Trust in the country is Veteran Aware.”