Veteran Aware status awarded to Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has become accredited as Veteran Aware.

This means it is committed to providing the best standards of care for the armed forces community in the area.

The Trust has been formally recognised by the Veterans Covenant Healthcare Alliance (VCHA), which has awarded it the Veteran Aware status.

The VCHA is a group of NHS healthcare providers in England who are committed to providing the best standards of care for the armed forces community in England 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 evidence suggested that members of the armed forces received variable levels of care once the military was no longer responsible for them.

The VCHA 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.

The accreditation of Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust means that 136 NHS providers across England are now Veteran Aware accredited, and the alliance aims to have all Trusts accredited by next year [2024].

Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is a leading provider of community health services in the north west of England.

It provides community and specialist services to people living in Halton, St Helens and Warrington as well as a Community Dental Network across those areas as well as in Bolton, Bury, Heywood, Middleton, Rochdale, Tameside, Trafford, Glossop, Stockport, Wigan and east and west Cheshire. Most of its services are delivered in patients’ homes or in locations close to where they live.

VCHA Regional Lead Mandy Stokes said: “Well done to Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. It’s been an absolute pleasure working with you on this journey and I am so pleased that the commitment of the Trust with the Armed Forces agenda has been recognised in this way.

“According to the latest census report from the Office for National Statistics, nearly 90,000 people living within this area have some connection to the UK’s armed forces. This is quite a sizable number so the scale of the need is clear. I look forward to working with the Trust to support the local veteran and armed forces community in the future.”

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 65% 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.”

Sarah Brennan, Chief Operating Officer and Executive Lead for Armed Forces Friendly Work said: “Having worked in Germany serving as a civilian with the Forces, I recognise the challenges placed on service men and women and their families and that’s why achieving this accreditation is important to me personally and to us as a Trust.

“We are proud to have been recognised by the VCHA and will work closely with them to ensure that we support veterans in the places in which we work.”

The VCHA programme is also now piloting the Veteran Aware accreditation of both the independent sector and hospices.

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