"We deeply value those who courageously serve or have served our country and we are thrilled to be supporting the armed forces covenant. The covenant is in place to ensure that service personnel past and present and their families are respected, supported and treated fairly. The work we are undertaking will benefit our staff and patients alike."
Deborah Needham, Chief Operating Officer
We're a Veteran Aware hospital
We're proud to have been named as a Veteran Aware hospital for our recognition of our commitment to improve NHS care for veterans, reservists, members of the armed forces and their families.
The accreditation, from the Veterans Covenant Hospital Alliance (VCHA), acknowledges our 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.
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
NGH are now one of 33 members of the VCHA and we are part of only the second wave of hospitals to be accredited.
Ruth Smith, our NGH 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.
Signing the Northamptonshire Armed Forces covenant
We were extremely proud to sign up to the Countywide Armed Forces Covenant on 29th July 2018 pledging our support and commitment to military personnel past and present.
The covenant states that:
'The first duty of Government is the defence of the realm. Our Armed Forces fulfil that responsibility on behalf of the Government, sacrificing some civilian freedoms, facing danger and, sometimes, suffering serious injury or death as a result of their duty. Families also play a vital role in supporting the operational effectiveness of our Armed Forces. In return, the whole nation has a moral obligation to the members of the Naval Service, the Army and the Royal Air Force, together with their families. They deserve our respect and support, and fair treatment.'
We see our job as being the signpost to the local services available to all veterans, their families and carers, both staff and patients, should they wish to access them, to inform and advise that there are services that can help from home visits, handy man assistance, funding for mobility scooters, hearing aids, respite care, admiral nurses and access to mental health services for those who may be adversely affected from their time in service to name just a few. To ensure that we recognise and respect any veteran who has given their time to this country and that we let them know they are incredibly valued by our hospital.
Dr Sonia Swart signs the covenant on behalf of Northampton General Hospital.
What are we doing?
- We have created information points in our inpatient and outpatient gyms and oncology outpatients which have been coordinated by our Armed Forces Champions
- We have ammended our Occupational Therapy contact sheet to ask “have you ever served in HM Armed Forces?” to reach more veterans.
We already incorporate the following leave entitlement to help support those whochoose to be members of the Reserve Forces, including accommodating their training and deployment where possible;
Paragraph 7.7 Of the hospitals Special Leave Policy which states “any employee that is a member of the Reserve Forces will be entitled to a maximum of two weeks paid leave per financial year to attend Annual Camp or equivalent continuous training”
- We also support treatment for our veterans via our Access Policy
- We have a monthly drop in session from the Royal British Legion every third Thursday of the month to keep us up to date with current services and also to keep us all replenished with information posters and leaflets that we would love to see in as many patient areas, staff rooms and corridors as possible
- We are also supporting veterans who may wish to transfer into careers within the NHS and Andy Belcher, our Clinical Resource and Planning Manager is commencing work with the MoD, Step into Health and CTP networks on behalf of NGH.
NHS mental health care for veterans
NHS mental health care for veterans Mental illness is common and can affect anyone (including serving and ex-members of the Armed Forces and their families). Whilst some people cope by getting support from their family and friends, or by getting help with other issues in their lives, others need clinical care and treatment, which could be from the NHS, support groups or charities.
You can view a leaflet with more information here.
The Royal British Legion visit NGH monthly to advise staff, patients, families and carers of the support they can offer for veterans. This assistance includes help at home, Poppy Care homes, Admiral nurses, mobility scooters and hearing aids.
You can come along and speak to the team in the Cyber Cafe from 11am -1pm on the third Thursday of each month
Royal British Legion: https://www.britishlegion.org.uk/
Combat Stress: http://www.combatstress.org.uk
Veterans gateway: https://www.veteransgateway.org.uk/
National Armed Forces Covenant: https://www.armedforcescovenant.gov.uk/
NHS Veterans Mental Health Transition, Intervention and Liaison service