After hard work by a team of staff including former military personnel, SHSC has been accredited as Veteran Aware, meaning the Trust takes account of the needs of the armed forces community.
The team has been working tirelessly to ensure we meet the requirements of the bronze accreditation and will continue to work towards silver and then gold levels.
The work which allowed us to become bronze accredited included:
- Establishing links with the Sheffield Community Covenant Partnership Board (we will attend their meetings to liaise with local organisations about veteran care)
- Working with local charities to support the establishment of their work in Sheffield to support veterans
- The writing of a a new patient access policy to redefine veteran care in the Trust
- The redesign of our complaints process to capture veteran status and make plans to design a specific veteran complaints feedback survey
- Work with the Rio Go Live team to rebuild and improve our patient data collection tools so that we can support clinical staff to gather data about our veteran communities.
We are dedicated to continuing this work and much of it is ongoing.
Neil Robertson, executive director of operations and transformation and the senior responsible officer for the work, welcomed the award.
“I am very proud that we have achieved this accreditation. It is down to hard work and dedication from a team who have worked tirelessly to ensure we meet the needs of the armed forces community.
“I would like to thank everyone involved at SHSC and the Veterans Covenant Healthcare Alliance (VCHA) for their commitment in making this a reality. We will now look to further improve the service we offer and achieve a silver and then gold accreditation.”
The accreditation process was overseen by the VCHA, whose aim is to make sure that people from the armed forces community, including families, are paid due regard and are not disadvantaged in terms of access to and outcomes of healthcare, as a result of their military life in line with the principles of the Armed Forces Covenant.
It does this by developing, sharing and driving the implementation of best practice, while at the same time raising standards for everyone in NHS Trusts in England.
VCHA Regional Lead Bernadette Knight said: “This is just the start of its journey. The Trust recognises it is early on in its development of an approach for the armed forces community patients and staff but is well engaged and committed.
“It has made impressive improvements since its first contact with the VCHA and has a comprehensive plan to continue on this beginning, including setting up specific local services with local partners.”
The Trust is already signed up to the Armed Forces Covenant - a promise by the nation ensuring that those who serve, or who have served, in the armed forces, and their families, are treated fairly.