ARMED forces and their families in south Warwickshire are in caring hands.
South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust (SWFT) has gained accreditation as a Veteran Aware trust – helping to drive improvements in NHS care for people who serve or have served in the UK armed forces and for their families.
As well as improving the care of veterans, Veteran Aware trusts aim to remove barriers to the employment of veterans and actively identify ways in which the organisation can support career opportunities for them.
A veteran is defined as any person who has been a member of the British Armed Forces for any length of time.
All veterans are entitled to priority access to NHS care – including hospital, primary or community care – for service-related conditions associated with their time in the forces.
They may also have very different skills and experiences, which could benefit the NHS from an employment perspective.
Achieving a Veteran Aware status means SWFT will:
* explain to veterans and their families what they can expect in regard to their treatment and care
* train relevant staff to be aware of veterans’ needs and the commitments of the NHS under the Armed Forces Covenant
* inform staff if a veteran or their GP has told the hospital they have served in the forces
* ensure members of the armed forces community do not face disadvantage compared to other citizens when accessing NHS services
* signpost extra services that might be provided to the forces community by other relevant organisations
* look into what services are available in the locality that could benefit patients who are veterans.
Thomas Wood, Lead Clinician for the Veteran Aware Project Group and Orthopaedic Consultant at SWFT, said: “This award is the culmination of several months of work for the whole implementation team. The Veterans Aware project highlights the commitment of the Trust to address the challenges faced by the veteran and wider military community to access healthcare.”
SWFT managing director, Anne Coyle, said being Veteran Aware was about removing disadvantages so members or previous members of the armed forces and their families could get the same access to services as the civilian community.
“Our Trust is committed to breaking down the barriers of health inequalities and providing outstanding care to everyone within the community we serve.
“I am honoured our trust has been acknowledged for this dedication and recognised as an exemplar organisation for providing the very best care to veterans.”