Supporting the health of Hertfordshire’s military community

Picture of soldiers marching towards the Union Jack flag.

Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust (HCT) has been accredited as Veteran Aware.

The accreditation means the Trust has been recognised as taking account of the needs of the Armed Forces Community when providing community-based healthcare services to the population of Hertfordshire, West Essex and East Anglia.

It supports people at every stage of their lives, from health visiting, school nursing and specialist dental or speech services to community nursing rehabilitation and palliative care.

There is a large armed forces population in its service area of veterans and families amounting to about 11 per cent of the population. 

The accreditation process was overseen by the Veterans Covenant Healthcare Alliance (VCHA), ensuring that people from the Armed Forces Community are not disadvantaged in terms of access to and outcomes of healthcare, because of their military life in line with the principles of the Armed Forces Covenant.

Elloit Howard-Jones Chief Executive said: “I am delighted that the Trust has been successfully accredited as Veteran Aware which formally recognises our commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant and as an exemplar of the best standards of care for the armed forces community, including their families and their children, to ensure they are not disadvantaged in terms of access to and outcomes of healthcare, as a result of their military life.

“As a Trust we will build on this work and carry on growing our relationships with the local armed forces community so we can continue to improve services for veterans and their families.”

VCHA Regional Lead David Wood said: “An incredible effort and I am very proud of what they have achieved and while this marks the start of their journey, the foundations put in place will help them take their offer into the next phase. The Trust has an ambitious plan, resources, and support in place to ensure its success in supporting the military community of Hertfordshire and I am confident that it will succeed.”

VCHA Chairman, Prof Tim Briggs CBE, said: “84% of NHS trusts across England, are now accredited 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.”

Clinical Systems Development Analyst Katie Millman is the Armed Forces Clinical Champion and the Trust’s Network Deputy Chair.

She said: “I started my Army Reserves career in 2004 and completed some of the most demanding competitions in the Army such as Cambrian Patrol and the Army Medical Tactical Training Exercise. HCT has supported me throughout my time in the Trust. It is reassuring to know there is an allowance for me to take time off to attend annual exercises and support from my colleagues and services I work with”.

Director of Operations Adult/Children’s Services Emma Whiteford is the Armed Forces Lead and Management Champion.  

She said: “I have very close family currently serving in the Armed Forces with many overseas tours of duty including Afghanistan and Northern Ireland. I personally understand the challenges this puts on family and friends. I will be championing the issues our veterans face leaving military life and supporting improving their access to health care services in Hertfordshire. I will also be listening to current serving personnel to ensure we can support their transition from military to civilian life with an improved community offer.”  

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