Bolton NHS Foundation Trust has been reaccredited as Veteran Aware.
The Trust, which was originally accredited in September 2021, met standards laid down by the Veterans Covenant Healthcare Alliance (VCHA), a national NHS team.
The VCHA’s aim is to make sure that patients from the Armed Forces Community, including families and dependents, are paid due regard and are not disadvantaged in terms of access to and outcomes of healthcare, as a result of their military life in line with the principles of the Armed Forces Covenant.
It does this by developing, sharing and driving the implementation of best practice, while at the same time raising standards for everyone in NHS Trusts in England. The Veterans Strategy action plan 2022 has since expanded the programme to include hospices and the Independent Care Sector.
The Armed Forces Covenant is a promise by the nation ensuring that those who serve, or who have served, in the armed forces, and their families, are treated fairly. This means it takes active note of the needs of the Armed Forces Community.
The reaccreditation of Bolton NHS Foundation Trust means that 145 NHS providers across England are Veteran Aware accredited, and the alliance aims to have all Trusts in England accredited by the end of the first quarter of 2024.
The Trust is one of the North West’s busiest acute NHS Foundation trusts, serving people across Bolton and other parts of Greater Manchester and is classed as amongst the best in the region for several of its services.
The Royal Bolton Hospital is a major hub in Greater Manchester for women’s and children’s services and the second busiest ambulance receiving site in Greater Manchester. The area is a good recruiting ground for the Armed Forces; with a general population in Greater Manchester of around 2.9 million, it is estimated that around 232,946 (8%) are from the Armed Forces Community.
Mandy Stokes, Regional Lead for the VCHA, said: “I am so pleased that the commitment of the Trust to recognise the needs of the armed forces community has been recognised by the successful VCHA reaccreditation. It has been a pleasure working with the Trust Leads for this work and I look forward to continuing to work with them as the agenda moves forward.”
VCHA Chairman, Prof Tim Briggs CBE, said: “More and more Trusts are seeing the value of Veteran Aware accreditations as seen through the numbers of Trusts that are now accredited. We now stand at 70% of NHS Trusts across England, which is a testament both to the dedication of my team and to the wider NHS family who work tirelessly on behalf of the military community despite the many pressures they will be under. Well done all.”
James Mawrey, Chief People Officer and Deputy Chief Executive at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, said: “I am so proud that we have been accredited as Veteran Aware and have achieved a Silver Award for the Employer Recognition Scheme.
“We are fully committed to ensuring that those who serve, or have served, and their families are not at a disadvantage when using our services and that we can best support their needs.
“We will build on our silver award and continue to learn from our patients and their families so we can ensure we provide the highest quality of care to veterans.”
The VCHA will be holding a national best practice conference at the Barbican in London on September 20, 2023 from 10am to 4pm. For more details please go to our Eventbrite page on https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/veterans-covenant-healthcare-alliance-national-best-practice-conference-tickets-574481980067.