The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust has been reaccredited as Veteran Aware.
The Trust, which was first accredited in March 2019, 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 and to be supported as employees.
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 The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS 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 provides acute and community care for over half a million people every year, in their homes, in the community and across the three hospital sites at Pontefract, Dewsbury and Pinderfields.
It is estimated that nearly 600,000 people across the Yorkshire and Humber area are from the Armed Forces Community, equating to about 11 per cent of the general population. The Trust have strong links with 212 Field Hospital and local veterans breakfast clubs and is a member of the Wakefield Armed Forces Covenant Steering Group led by Wakefield Council.
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.”
Ellie Valentine, Associate Director of Workforce and Organisational Development and Armed Forces employment lead at the Trust, said: “We are proud to have achieved reaccreditation for Veteran Aware status. It is important that our Armed Forces Community know that they will be supported by the Trust, whether as an employee or whilst accessing our services. We already support a number of veterans, military family members and reservists in our employment. We have lots of opportunities for other members of our Armed Forces Community to join our workforce and utilise their extensive knowledge, skills and experiences for the benefit of our patients.
“With a large military population across our district, it is key that we provide the very best care possible for veterans and their families, and that we remain absolutely committed to supporting such an important agenda.”
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.