The Queen Elizabeth Hospital King’s Lynn NHS Foundation Trust (QEH) has been awarded ‘Veteran Aware’ Trust status 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), recognises the Trust’s commitment to ensuring that the Armed Forces community is never disadvantaged, in line with the NHS’s commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant.
The Trust also commits to a number of key pledges, including supporting the Armed Forces community as an employer, training relevant staff on veteran specific culture or needs, and 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 or benefit claims.
QEH joins a growing number of NHS Trusts achieving the VCHA accreditation, with a total of 71 NHS Trusts now having received the accolade.
Caroline Shaw CBE, Chief Executive at QEH, said: “We are extremely proud to be accredited as a ‘Veteran Aware’ Trust. This fantastic news is testament to the hard work and commitment of colleagues at QEH to further improving services for Veterans and Service Leavers. We look forward to continuing to work collaboratively with our Armed Forces networks to further strengthen our care for Veterans and Service Leavers whether they be patients, employers or volunteers, and share best practice across the NHS.”
Emma Harrison, Patient Experience and Public Involvement Lead at QEH, said: “Becoming a Veteran Aware Trust is an important step for us. This is the start of a journey which will enable the Trust to improve, learn and connect with other Trusts and networks to build a stronger experience for our patients, staff and local community.”
In the same week as hearing this good news, the Trust received the welcome news that it had retained its ‘Gold’ status for the Defence Employer Recognition scheme.
The VCHA is inspired by the heroism of Captain Noel Godfrey Chavasse VC, 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, which recommended establishing a support network of hospitals and raising standards. 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 VCHA is a major step towards our aim of ensuring every NHS trust in the country is Veteran Aware.”
To contact the Veterans Covenant Healthcare Alliance, email firstname.lastname@example.org.