HEALTH chiefs are celebrating after Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust was formally recognised as ‘Veteran Aware’ by the Veterans Covenant Healthcare Alliance (VCHA) in a fitting start to Armed Forces Awareness Week.
The trust marked the start of Armed Forces Awareness Week with a flag raising ceremony and minute’s silence for staff, patients and visitors at the Worcestershire Royal Hospital, accompanied by a Salvation Army bugler.
The VCHA is a group of NHS healthcare providers in England committed to providing the best standards of care for the Armed Forces community, based on the principles of the Armed Forces Covenant.
The Armed Forces Covenant – which recently passed into law – is a promise by the nation ensuring that those who serve, or who have served, in the Armed forces, and their families, are treated fairly. The aim is to develop, share and drive the implementation of best practice that will improve armed forces veterans’ care, while at the same time raising standards for everyone across the NHS.
Dr Christine Blanshard, Chief Medical Officer at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust and chair of the Trust’s Armed Forces Strategy Group, said: “The Trust is also part of the Armed Forces Employer Recognition Scheme, and last year received the Bronze Award, reflecting our support for those who serve.
“We are currently working towards our Silver Award. Our staff include many reservists, armed forces leavers and military families, and we are grateful for the skills that these experiences bring to the Trust, helping us to deliver our purpose to put patients first.”
The Trust also signed the Armed Forces Covenant in 2020 setting out its commitment and support to members of the Armed Forces Community who work in the organisation or access services.
VCHA Regional Lead David Wood said: “Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust have demonstrated clearly their achievement of each of the eight manifesto standards and that has been recognised and approved by the National Steering Group and they now join 118 other Trusts in the region and nationally already accredited as Veteran Aware.”
The Veteran Covenant Healthcare Alliance (VCHA) is committed to improving Armed Forces and Veteran care whilst raising standards for all.
A total of 118 NHS providers in England are now Veteran Aware accredited, two have been re-accredited, and the VCHA aims to have all Trusts in England accredited by March 2023 at the latest.