Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust (NCH&C) has become one of the latest NHS trusts to be accredited as Veteran Aware, formally recognising their commitment to the armed forces community.
The Veterans Covenant Healthcare Alliance (VCHA) is a group of NHS healthcare providers in England who are committed to providing the best standards of care for the armed forces, past, present and their families 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 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 NCH&C means that 136 NHS providers across England are now Veteran Aware accredited, and the alliance aims to have all Trusts accredited by the end of 2023.
NCH&C provides community-based NHS health and care via more than 70 different service locations across Norfolk, serving a population of nearly 900,000 people.
As a community trust their catchment area is extensive and mostly rural which presents myriad challenges in service provision generally, which is also home to a significant number of the Armed Forces community, around 160,000 and also annually 80,000 visiting troop to the Stanford Training Area (STANTA) in Norfolk.
It was the first standalone NHS Community Trust in the UK to achieve an ‘Outstanding’ rating from the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
VCHA Regional Lead David Wood said: “Well done to Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust. The quality of your accreditation submission reflects the depth to which Veteran Aware accreditation is now embedded in wider Trust business, I am so pleased that the commitment of the Trust with the Armed Forces agenda has been recognised in this way.”
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.”
Andy Sumpner, Resuscitation Officer and Chair of NCH&C’s Veteran Aware Group, served for 12 years as a combat paramedic with the Royal Army Medical Corps.
Andy said: “I am honoured to Chair the Veteran Aware Group at NCH&C and delighted that NCH&C is now accredited as Veteran Aware. Working for NCH&C has really helped my transition into Civvy Street. They understand and respect my military veteran status and utilise all the transferable skills veterans contribute to a successful and vibrant workforce.
“National Veteran Aware accreditation also includes a Defence Employer Recognition Scheme Bronze award, which really demonstrates how NCH&C can be a great place to start a new career after leaving the armed forces.”
The VCHA programme is also now piloting the Veteran Aware accreditation of both the independent sector and hospices.