South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS) 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.
SCAS is now one of 99 members of the VCHA and is part of a growing number of NHS Trusts gaining this accolade.
Paul Jefferies, Assistant Director of Operations at SCAS, said: “As a Defence Employer Recognition Scheme Gold Award holder, we in SCAS are immensely proud to be recognised as Veteran Aware.
“This accreditation reinforces the key working relationships SCAS has with the Armed Forces both as colleagues but also as service users.
“The team within SCAS has worked tirelessly to gain this recognition and to further support our service personnel and I would like to congratulate them for this well-deserved award.”
The VCHA is made up of a group of NHS providers and works closely with NHS England and NHS Improvement, service charities and the Ministry of Defence.
The alliance was set up following The Chavasse Report in 2014 which was written by leading orthopaedic surgeon Professor Tim Briggs CBE with the aim of improving Armed Forces and veteran care while raising NHS standards.
One of the recommendations was to establish a support network of trusts resulting in the development of the VCHA.
“These Trusts should be very proud of the commitment they have made to the service men and women of this country,” said Prof Briggs. “Welcoming them into the VCHA 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.”