North Bristol NHS Trust awarded Veteran Aware accreditation

Friday, 9 November 2018

As the nation marks the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War North Bristol NHS Trust is celebrating being awarded Veteran Aware accreditation.

Southmead Hospital is one of just 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.

The hospital will now start to provide 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.

It will also ensuring that the armed forces community is never disadvantaged compared to other patients which is in line with the NHS’s commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant.

North Bristol NHS Trust Chair, Michele Romaine, said: “We are very excited and proud to have received Veteran Aware accreditation at North Bristol Trust. As a service wife I’m well aware of the importance of supporting veterans and reservists and we aim to make the Trust a centre of excellence in their care and support.

“Southmead was a military hospital from 1914 to 1918 and was part of the 2nd Southern General Hospital. During the war 37,397 patients were admitted to our hospital and we treated shrapnel wounds and shellshock and also provided rehabilitation for badly-injured soldiers with workshops where they could learn crafts to help them earn a living in civilian life.

“This is another reason why it is such an honour to have this accreditation.”

Like Southmead Hospital, some of the first hospitals to join the alliance already have significant links with the military, while others are getting involved for the first time.

Hospital 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.

Professor Tim Briggs, National Director for Clinical Quality and Efficiency at NHS Improvement and Co-Chair of the Veterans Covenant Hospitals Alliance, said: “I applaud NBT for becoming one of the first in the country to be accredited as ‘Veteran Aware’.

“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.”

Lieutenant General Martin Bricknell, Surgeon General, added: “The strong partnership between the MoD and the NHS highlights our commitment to the through-life care of our service personnel and veterans. The Veteran Aware scheme is a fantastic initiative that will ensure the particular needs of the Armed Forces community are at the heart of their care.”