Every NHS trust in England should offer ‘veteran friendly’ care to ensure that those who have served in the armed forces get ‘the best possible experience’ of the health service, NHS England has said.
The day before Remembrance Day (Sunday, 11 November), NHS England announced that every part of the health service has now a dedicated mental health provision for veterans.
NHS Improvement has also just announced the first 25 hospitals to become ‘veteran aware’.
Frontline staff at these 25 hospitals will be offered training and education on the specific needs of veterans and will learn how to signpost them to the appropriate services.
The trusts will also put up posters to encourage veterans to make staff aware that they have served in the armed forces.
However, the NHS said that every NHS hospital should aim to become ‘veteran friendly’.
Jeremy Marlow, executive director of operational productivity at NHS Improvement and co-chair of the Veterans Covenant Hospitals Alliance, said:
‘As we mark the Armistice centenary and accredit the first 25 hospitals, we are calling on other trusts to apply to do the same. In doing so, we will work towards ending the variation in access to local services for veterans.’
NHS Improvement said their ambition is ‘to have 75 NHS providers accredited by the end of 2019’.
Health secretary Matt Hancock said: ‘Veteran aware hospitals will help provide integrated care and a single source of advice to veterans on the support available to them and I want to see this initiative rolled out across the country.’
On 11 November we commemorated one century since the First World War came to an end.
Other services previously introduced to improve the care veterans receive include more than 100 ‘veteran friendly’ GP surgeries and The Veterans’ Mental Health Complex Treatment Service. The latter allowed nearly 300 people to get help for severe mental health conditions since it was launched in April 2018.
Commenting on NHS England’s announcement, NHS Providers head of policy Amber Jabbal said: ‘These trusts will be able to share their experiences with others to ensure that we can provide the best possible access to services for veterans wherever they live.’
NHS Improvement has listed the 25 NHS hospitals that have been accredited ‘veteran aware’.