Published on: 9 November 2018

Veteran_Aware.pngCity Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust is one of the 24 acute hospital trusts accredited by the Veterans Covenant Hospital Alliance (VCHA) to lead the way in improving NHS care for veterans and members of the armed forces community by:

  • Providing training to staff to be aware of veterans’ specific needs;
  • Making past and present servicemen and women aware of appropriate charities or NHS services beneficial to them, such as mental health services or support with financial and/or benefit claims;
  • 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.

Deputy Director of Nursing JuIie McDonald and Veteran Aware lead said: “It is an absolute honour to be chosen by the VCHA to be part of the first wave of Veteran Aware hospitals to further improve NHS care for veterans and members of the armed forces community. Through our involvement, we look forward to making a real difference to many lives.”

Some of the first hospitals being announced as ‘Veteran Aware’ already have significant links with the military, while others are getting involved for the first time. Trusts which are accredited 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.

Director of Human Resources & Organisational Development and Executive Lead for the Trust’s work with the Armed Forces, added: “It is very important to City Hospitals Sunderland and our partner South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust that we support defence and the armed forces community and inspire others to do the same. Both Trusts have signed the Government’s Armed Forces Covenant, which represents a promise that those who serve or have served, and their families, are treated fairly.

City Hospitals Sunderland has received the ‘Veteran Aware’ hospital accreditation from the Veterans Covenant Hospital Alliance which is made up of national bodies, including NHS Improvement, NHS England, the Department of Health and Social Care, the Ministry of Defence, and the Confederation of Service Charities.

The ‘Veteran Aware’ accreditation was 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 while raising NHS standards, which recommended establishing a support network of hospitals.

“People who have served in the armed forces can often have specific and varied needs and so, we must do everything we can to ensure the NHS continues to support those who have given so much for our country.

“As we mark the Armistice centenary, we are calling on other trusts to lead by this example and apply for their accreditation so that they can guarantee they are doing the exactly same.”