CNTW helps improve care for armed forces community

Posted: 22/04/21

Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW) joins wave of Veteran Aware Trusts improving care for the Armed Forces community.

CNTW has been named a Veteran Aware Trust 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 Healthcare Alliance (VCHA), acknowledges the Trust’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
  • Supporting the armed forces as an employer

CNTW is now one of 68 members of the VCHA and is part of a growing number of NHS Trusts gaining this accolade.

David Muir, Group Director at CNTW, said: “We are delighted to have achieved accreditation and proud to support our armed forces community. This demonstrates our work to improve the lives of veterans, reservists, volunteers and their families. This is an exciting opportunity for the Trust and will help us provide the best possible care to those who need it.”

Michelle Evans, Deputy Director of Workforce & Organisational Development at CNTW, said: “It’s an honour to be able to ensure our armed forces community receive the support they need, at the right place and the right time.”

Trusts recognised as Veteran Aware will display posters urging anyone who has served in the armed forces to make themselves known to staff.

The VC HA was inspired by the heroism of Captain Noel Godfrey Chavasse VC, 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[1] 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.

Professor Briggs, 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 service men 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 VC HA and former head of the British Army, said: “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.”

This is one of a number of measures the Trust has worked on to help veterans. Earlier this year, CNTW signed the Armed Forces Covenant, pledging support for the armed forces community. The Covenant is about fair treatment, removing disadvantage and ensuring veterans get the same access to services.

Part of this work will support the Trust to attract and engage with the armed forces community and encourage more people to join the workforce. CNTW and NTW Solutions already hold the Bronze Award for their Employer Recognition Scheme and are working towards the Silver Award.

CNTW also provides a service for former armed services personnel experiencing severe mental health problems, in partnership with Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Walking With The Wounded and Combat Stress.