Black Country Healthcare 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 150 NHS providers across England are now accredited as Veteran Aware. The alliance aim is to accredit all Trusts by the end of 2023.
The Trust provides specialist mental health, learning disability, and community healthcare services to people living in Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton.
A particular strength of their Armed Forces programme is the work of the Recovery College and the role it will play in developing services and support for members of the community.
About 78,000 veterans and 187,200 families live in the area along with a serving cohort of 2,080, including the largest number of reservists in the region. This amounts to a total Armed Forces population of around 22 per cent in the county.
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.
VCHA Regional Lead David Wood said: “Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust may not have a long track record in engagement with the Armed Forces community, but what’s clear to me is that their aspiration and intent more than makes up for this, particularly in their desire to develop a unique programme involving recovery therapies.
“It 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 71 per cent 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.”
Chris Masikane, Chief Operating Officer at Black Country Healthcare said: “We are delighted to have achieved Veteran Aware status. Supporting the Armed Forces community and their families is something we are incredibly passionate about, both for our patients and in our amazing, diverse workforce. The accreditation we have received recognises the commitment we have to ensuring veterans receive the best care for their mental health and this makes us incredibly proud.”
“I would like to thank all our staff who have put in an immense amount of work to ensure that veterans and their families within our services have been identified and provided with high quality care.”
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.