United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT) has been formally accredited as a Veteran Aware trust.
One of 47 trusts across the UK to be named Veteran Aware, ULHT was granted the status in recognition of its commitment to improving NHS care for veterans, reservists and members of the armed forces.
Awarded by the Veterans Covenant Healthcare Alliance (VCHA), the Veteran Aware mark highlights NHS trusts which have made a series of pledges, such as ensuring members of the armed forces community are never disadvantaged when receiving care, training staff on veteran-specific needs, and supporting the armed forces as an employer.
Veteran Aware providers display posters in their clinics and waiting rooms, highlighting their status and encouraging members of the armed forces community to identify themselves to staff.
Medical Director and Executive Sponsor of the ULHT Armed Forces Network, Dr Neill Hepburn, said: “Lincolnshire has a proud military tradition and a high proportion of present and retired service personnel, myself included. It is important that we provide the care they require and they are not disadvantaged by their service, present or past. We recognise this as Trust and it is good to have achieved the veteran aware accreditation in recognition of this work.”
The VCHA was inspired by the heroism of Captain Noel Godfrey Chavasse VC and Bar, 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 hospitals. The resulting VCHA works closely with NHS England and NHS Improvement, service charities and the Ministry of Defence, and is managed by the Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT) programme.
Professor Briggs, Chair of GIRFT, NHS National Director for Clinical Improvement and Chair of the VCHA, said: “It is a privilege to welcome trusts to the Veterans Covenant Healthcare Alliance. ULHT has made great strides in improving the care it provides to the servicemen and women of this country, and should be very proud.”
The VCHA is working with NHS trusts across the country to improve standards of care for the armed forces community. In time, the alliance hopes to see every NHS provider meeting the Veteran Aware standards.