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Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust

Northampton General Hospital joins wave of Veteran Aware hospitals improving care for the armed forces community

NGH Ruth Smith veteran aware

Ruth receives the NGH’s accreditation certificate from Major Paul Shipley MBE RA and Professor Tim Briggs, NHS National Director of Clinical Improvement and Co-Chair of the Veterans Covenant Hospital Alliance

Northampton General Hospital (NGH) has been named a Veteran Aware hospital in recognition of its commitment to improving NHS care for veterans, reservists, members of the armed forces and their families.

The accreditation, from the Veterans Covenant Hospital Alliance (VCHA), acknowledges the hospital’s commitment to a number of key pledges, including: 

  • Ensuring that the armed forces community is never disadvantaged compared to other patients, in line with the NHS’s commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant;
  • Training relevant staff on veteran specific culture or needs;
  • Making veterans, reservists and service families aware of appropriate charities or NHS services beneficial to them, such as mental health services or support with financial and/or benefit claims;
  • Supporting the armed forces as an employer.

NGH is now one of 33 members of the VCHA and is part of only the second wave of hospitals to be accredited.

Ruth Smith, NGH’s armed forces project lead said “I am extremely proud to have accepted this accreditation on behalf of the hospital. This achievement could only be made possible by the support of the whole of team NGH. We look forward to continuing our commitment to keep raising awareness and offering support, guidance and signposting however we can for all of our valued veterans, their families and carers.”

Hospitals recognised as Veteran Aware will display posters in their clinics and public waiting areas urging anyone who has served in the armed forces to make themselves known to staff.

The VCHA was inspired by the heroism of Captain Noel Godfrey Chavasse VC and Bar, a doctor who gave his life rescuing men on the battlefields of the First World War.

In 2014, leading orthopaedic surgeon Professor Tim Briggs CBE wrote The Chavasse Report on improving armed forces and veteran care while raising NHS standards, which recommended establishing a support network of hospitals. The resulting 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 Briggs, 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.”

General Lord Richard Dannatt, Patron of the VCHA and former head of the British Army, said: “I am delighted that a second wave of our top hospitals has joined the Veterans Covenant Hospital Alliance. Although the British Armed Forces are not currently engaged in high profile campaigns such as in Iraq and Afghanistan in recent years, the health and wellbeing battles for many veterans continue. The VCHA is playing a major part in helping our brave veterans win their personal battles.”

Posted on Thursday 16th May 2019
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