The Christie NHS Foundation Trust has been accredited as Veteran Aware.
This means it takes active note of the needs of the Armed Forces Community and met standards laid down by the Veterans Covenant Healthcare Alliance (VCHA), a national NHS team..
The Manchester-based Trust is the largest single site cancer centre in Europe, treating more than 60,000 patients per year and the first UK centre to be accredited as a comprehensive cancer centre. Based in Manchester, the Trust serves a population of more than 3.9 million people across Greater Manchester and Cheshire.
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.
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 Integrated Care Boards, 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.
The Trust’s accreditation means that 147 NHS providers across England are now Veteran Aware accredited and the alliance aims to have all Trusts accredited by the end of the first quarter of 2024.
The area is good recruiting ground for the Armed Forces. With a general population in Cheshire of around 1.09 million and around 2.9 million in Greater Manchester, it is estimated that around 363,580 people are from the Armed Forces Community, equating to about 9 per cent of the total population.
VCHA Regional Lead Mandy Stokes said: “I am delighted with the excellence of the work carried out by The Christie NHS Foundation Trust. The Trust has demonstrated its commitment to being Veteran Aware for both patients and staff and in building this into its wider Trust business to make sure that staff understand the needs of the armed forces community.”
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.”
Trust Chief Executive, Roger Spencer said: “We are delighted that the Trust has achieved Veteran Aware status. Our Veteran Aware Working Group are committed to continuing to make The Christie an Armed Forces Friendly Employer, supporting staff who hold reservist roles and recognising the unique skills and experience of staff transitioning from the military into the NHS.
“We will continue to build our support for our patients from the Armed Forces Community to receive the care and support that they need, signposting them to appropriate services and resources, and ensuring they are not disadvantaged because of their service.”
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