In 2014, Professor Tim Briggs CBE, wrote The Chavasse Report on improving armed forces and veteran care while raising NHS standards. His report, based on findings from his original orthopaedic GIRFT visits, recommended establishing a support network of hospitals. The resulting Veterans Covenant Healthcare Alliance (VCHA) works closely with NHS England & Improvements, service charities and the Ministry of Defence.
With the introduction in 2012 of The Armed Forces Covenant and enshrined by law into the Armed Forces Bill, all NHS providers will need to meet the requirements of this new legislation. Veteran Aware accreditation will support meeting these legal requirements and already a number of NHS providers are Veteran Aware accredited as exemplars of provision of the best care for veterans and their families and ensure that they afford no disadvantage in the care they receive. These providers work to helping to drive improvements in NHS care for people who serve or have served in the UK armed forces and their families. You can see our map of Veteran Aware accredited providers here.
VCHA is hosted by the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital and in partnership with NHS England and Improvement’s Armed Forces Commissioning.
Our ambition is to accredit all NHS providers in England as Veteran Aware by November 2022. We continue to guide and support our trusts to achieve accreditation. This involves providers sharing good practice in linking with local services for the Armed Forces Community and raising staff awareness of the Armed Forces Covenant. The Armed Forces Bill alongside NHS England’s commitment to the Armed Forces Community forward view will ensure that Veterans Healthcare is exemplary. During 2021 we will also be exploring whether other providers of healthcare can also work towards accreditation for example hospices and the Independent Sector.
The NHS Commitment to Armed Forces
The NHS in England is committed to raising standards among healthcare providers of Veterans’ services. The Armed Forces Covenant health commitments are included in the NHS Constitution and Mandates and form part of the contract with every NHS commissioned provider. This helps to ensure all healthcare professionals will be considerate of these services
Healthcare for the Armed Forces community: a forward view is seen as a companion document to the NHS Long Term Plan (LTP) and outlines the commitments NHS England & Improvement is making to improve the health and wellbeing of the Armed Forces community. Healthcare for the Armed Forces community reflects the emergent priorities and changes the NHS has made from the We are the NHS: People plan 2020/21.
Contributing to the commitment made in the Armed Forces Covenant
The Veterans Covenant Healthcare Alliance (VCHA) is a group of NHS providers, including acute, mental health, community, and ambulance trusts that have volunteered to be exemplars of the best care for and support to the armed forces community.
The Veteran Aware model will encourage providers to identify those patients who currently work or have worked in the military as well as service families, to ensure they are not disadvantaged in the care they receive and were possible receive personalised care and improve patient outcomes.