Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has been accredited as a ‘Veteran Aware’ hospital in recognition of its commitment to improving NHS care for veterans, reservists, members of the armed forces and their families. HHFT VCHA accreditation.jpg

The accreditation, from the Veterans Covenant Hospital Alliance (VCHA), acknowledges the Trust’s commitment to a number of key pledges, including supporting veterans, reservists and service families by making them aware of appropriate charities or NHS services, and ensuring staff are aware of the possible needs of veterans.

The Trust is now one of 33 members of the VCHA and is part of only the second wave of Trusts to be accredited.

Alex Whitfield, chief executive of Hampshire Hospitals, which runs Andover War Memorial Hospital, Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital and Royal Hampshire County Hospital, in Winchester, said: “We are delighted to have been recognised for our commitment to caring for members of the armed forces within our local community and I am incredibly proud of the care our staff provide to support these patients.

“We continue to look at the best ways to work with our patients, charities and other organisations to provide the best possible care to all of our patients, including those within the armed forces community.”

Patients are encouraged to make themselves known to hospital staff if they are a member of the armed forces community, in order to access the support and services available to them.

Hampshire Hospitals is also committed to supporting the armed forces as an employer, another of the key pledges, and was presented with the Ministry of Defence’s Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) Gold Award by Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, in 2017.

The ERS Gold Award is the highest accolade for organisations that have signed the Armed Forces Covenant. It recognises employers who actively support the Armed Forces community in their workplace and also encourage others to follow their lead.

Hampshire Hospitals was one of the first Trusts to join the Step into Health programme, which offers members of the armed forces coming to the end of their service the opportunity to undertake work attachments in the NHS.

The VCHA was inspired by the heroism of Captain Noel Godfrey Chavasse, a doctor who gave his life rescuing men on the battlefields of the First World War. VCHA works closely with NHS England and NHS Improvement, service charities and the Ministry of Defence, and is managed by the Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT) programme.

Professor Tim Briggs CBE, chair of GIRFT, NHS national director for clinical improvement and co-chair of the VCHA, said: “These Trusts should be very proud of the commitment they have made to the servicemen and women of this country. Welcoming them into the Veterans Covenant Hospital Alliance is a major step towards our aim of ensuring every NHS trust in the country is Veteran Aware.”