Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust (SHSC) has been accredited as Veteran Aware, meaning it takes account of the needs of the Armed Forces Community.
The Trust provides a range of mental health and learning disability services to the people of Sheffield and South Yorkshire, though some of the specialist services it provides support people from across the wider Yorkshire and The Humber region.
The accreditation process was overseen by the Veterans Covenant Healthcare Alliance (VCHA), whose aim is to make sure that people 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 NHS Long Term Plan 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 Bernadette Knight said: “This is just the start of its journey. The Trust recognises it is early on in its development of an approach for the armed forces community patients and staff but is well engaged and committed.
“It has made impressive improvements since its first contact with the VCHA and has a comprehensive plan to continue on this beginning, including setting up specific local services with local partners.”
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 78% 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.”
Neil Robertson is the executive director of operations and transformation for Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust and is the senior responsible officer.
“I am really pleased with the accreditation and hugely appreciate the support and guidance we have received from our staff, including those who are veterans. It is down to hard work and dedication from the team which has worked tirelessly to ensure we meet the needs of the armed forces community.
“I would like to thank everyone involved at SHSC and the VCHA for their commitment in making this a reality. We will now look to further improve the service we offer and achieve a silver and then a gold accreditation.”