RJAH reaccredited Veteran Aware status for support to Armed Forces community

Shropshire’s specialist orthopaedic hospital is celebrating after being reaccredited with its Veteran Aware status, from the Veterans Covenant Healthcare Alliance (VCHA).

The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital (RJAH) was initially hailed as Veteran Aware in November 2018.

The reaccreditation follows the opening of the state-of-the-art Headley Court Veterans’ Orthopaedic Centre at the Oswestry-based hospital.

Veteran Aware status, which is awarded by the VCHA, reaffirms the Trust’s commitment to providing the best standards of care to the Armed Forces community, past and present, and their families, based on the principles of the Armed Forces Covenant.

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.

Rebecca Warren, a nurse at RJAH and Staff Reservist, led on the reaccreditation work. She said: “It’s awesome that we’ve been reaccredited our Veteran Aware status.

“As well as the completion of the Headley Court Veterans’ Orthopaedic Centre, we have also carried out staff training to ensure each member of staff knows their responsibilities to the Armed Forces community, and we are activity trying to recruit those leaving the military to join the Trust.”

The Headley Court Veterans’ Orthopaedic Centre is a two-storey building featuring nine standard examination and clinic rooms, an enhanced treatment room for minor outpatient procedures, an assessment room, a splinting and therapy room, as well as clinic space for virtual appointments. 

In the main entrance of the building, there is a café and dedicated Veterans’ Hub where Shropshire Council and various military charities will provide support to veteran patients and their family and friends, with issues that range from homelessness, finance, debt management, welfare, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), benefits and more.  

The upstairs of the centre includes dedicated research offices, clinical teaching and training space for staff, a multi-disciplinary team room, and an office for admin staff.

Stacey Keegan, Chief Executive Officer at RJAH, said: “The Veteran Aware scheme is a fantastic initiative that will ensure the bespoke needs of the Armed Forces community are at the heart of their care.

“One of our aims as a Trust is to become a centre of excellence for the Armed Forces community, and being a Veteran Aware Trust really underpins this aim. I am extremely proud that we have been awarded the Veteran Aware status again.”

The VCHA aim is to develop, share and drive the implementation of best practice that will improve armed forces veterans’ care, while at the same time raising standards for everyone.

David Wood, VCHA Regional Lead, said: “Well done to RJAH – it’s clear from all I’ve seen that as a Trust you fully adhere to the principles of the Armed Forces Covenant. In particular the development of the Veterans’ Orthopaedic Centre can only signal to the Armed Forces Community how serious you are.

“The quality of your reaccreditation submission and the reflects the depth to which Veteran Aware accreditation is now embedded in wider Trust business, I am so pleased that the commitment of the Trust with the Armed Forces agenda has been recognised in this way.”

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