The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust has become one of the latest NHS trusts to be accredited as Veteran Aware, formally recognising their commitment to the Armed Forces community.
Its accreditation means that 145 NHS providers across England are now Veteran Aware accredited, and the alliance aims to have all Trusts accredited by the end of 2023.
Accreditation was carried out by the Veterans Covenant Healthcare Alliance (VCHA), which is a group of NHS healthcare providers in England.
The VCHA’s 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 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.
The Walton Centre is the only specialist hospital trust in the UK dedicated to providing comprehensive neurology, neurosurgery, spinal and pain management services.
The area it serves is large. It has a catchment area of 3.5 million people across Merseyside, Cheshire, Lancashire, Greater Manchester, the Isle of Man, North Wales and beyond as well as service partnerships with 18 NHS hospitals. It sees more than 180,000 patients a year across all its clinics.
The Walton Centre’s catchment area has an affinity with the Armed Forces. Liverpool itself has always had a strong military connection, while further afield in Preston is Fulwood Barracks, home of Headquarters North West as well as the Regimental headquarters of the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment.
With a general population in the North West of around 7,417,300, it is estimated that 784,749 (11%) is from the Armed Forces community.
VCHA Regional Lead Mandy Stokes said: “I am delighted with the work done by The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust in achieving this accreditation award. 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.”
Jane Mullin, Deputy Chief People Officer, said: “Supporting Veterans and their next-of-kin in the NHS allows them to develop new skills which they might not have been able to achieve whilst serving. Transition can be difficult but if we as a work force are educated to help Veterans and have an understanding, then it would make their life a lot easier and provide a reliant strong workforce team. To help Veterans and guide them through the next part of their lives is something we’re proud to support – it makes us a stronger workforce by working together.”
The VCHA programme is also now piloting the Veteran Aware accreditation of both the independent sector and hospices. 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.