Lincolnshire Community becomes accredited

Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust (LCHS) has added to the health provision offer for the Armed Forces Community across the county.

The Trust, which supports people in managing their own health at home and reducing the need for people to go into hospital, has joined United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT), Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (LPFT) in being accredited as Veteran Aware, meaning it is certified as taking account of the needs of the military community. LCHS also provides care through four community hospitals in Louth, Gainsborough, Spalding and Skegness, and the Butterfly Hospice in Boston. 

Additionally, the three have developed excellent working relations with East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS). The three have also developed strong connections with organisations within the community that focus on supporting the military community. These include Maternity Voice Matters, the Royal British Legion and the local council. The county benefits also from having a strong Armed Forces network in the Integrated Care Board.

Lincolnshire has a large Armed Forces Community of more than 160,000, comprising 44,811 veterans, 107,546 families, 1,070 reservists and 6,800 regulars. This amounts to about 16 per cent of the total population of the area.

The three trusts have formed strong links with RAF bases at Waddington, Digby and Coningsby as well as various connections with reserve forces in the county along with the Regional Brigade. 

The accreditation process was overseen by the Veterans Covenant Healthcare Alliance (VCHA).

Its aim is to make sure that patients from the Armed Forces Community, including families, 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 – 2024 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.

VCHA Regional Lead David Wood said: “I’m absolutely delighted with the work developed by the Trust. They’ve accomplished a great deal and while they may have been the last to accredit in Lincolnshire their engagement and progress throughout has been exemplary and consistent. This accreditation will only strengthen the combined offer to the Armed Forces Community.

“There is clearly depth in the programme with strong executive support and a wide range of capability across the functional elements. Testament to the importance placed on this by the Trust was their desire to complete their application in the week before Christmas in the midst of winter pressures.” 

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 83% 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.”

Dusty Millar, Deputy Director of People at LCHS said: “We are thrilled to have gained the Veteran’s Aware accreditation at LCHS. Lincolnshire has a proud history and strong links with our armed forces.  

This accreditation recognises the significant amount of work undertaken to ensure we are veteran friendly for our patients and our staff.”

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