University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust has been named 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 (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 and 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
University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust is now one of 97 members of the VCHA and is part of a growing number of NHS Trusts gaining this accolade.
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 & Bar, MC, 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 Trusts. 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.”
General Lord Richard Dannatt, Patron of the VCHA and former head of the British Army, said: “Although the British Armed Forces are not currently engaged in high profile campaigns such as in Iraq and Afghanistan in recent years, the health and wellbeing battles for many veterans continue. The VCHA is playing a major part in helping our brave veterans win their personal battles.”