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This week is Armed Forces Week and to commemorate this, we would like to announce that Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust have joined a group of over 153 NHS providers who have been accredited as exemplars of the best care for veterans, helping to drive improvements in NHS care for people who serve or have served in the UK armed forces and their families.

Veteran Aware trusts are leading the way in improving veterans' care within the NHS, as part of the Veterans Covenant Healthcare Alliance (VCHA). The VCHA's aim is to make sure patients from the armed forces community 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.

In May, we signed the Armed Forces Covenant in which we pledged that we will endeavour to uphold the key principles of the Armed Forces Covenant.

We will endeavour to:

  • provide information to veterans and their families explaining what to expect
  • train staff to be aware of veterans' needs and the commitments of the NHS under the Armed Forces Covenant
  • inform staff if a veteran or their GP has told the Trust whether they have served in the armed forces
  • ensure that the armed forces community do not face disadvantage compared to other citizens when accessing NHS services
  • signpost to extra services that might be provided to the armed forces community by a charity or service organisation.
  • look into what services are available in their locality, which patients would benefit from being referred to after a hospital stay

Kit Lawlor (SCFT Security Risk Officer) served in the Armed Forces for over 11 years and said: “Veteran Aware is fantastic because it shows this country cares about us. We go to war, we get sent to disasters and are told to do this with little warning and very little thanks.  When you leave the Armed Forces, you feel abandoned and lost.  Through the implementation of the Armed Forces Covenant, I feel that we are now turning a corner and veterans are receiving additional help. Being Veteran Aware helps the veterans that need it and knowing it's there for us is a massive relief and does give a little peace of mind to us.”

Diarmaid Crean (Chief Digital and Technology Officer) said: “I'm delighted the Trust has been successfully accredited as Veteran Aware. The accreditation recognises our hard work in demonstrating the Trust's commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant and as an exemplar of the best standards of care for the armed forces community. We will continue to work to raise awareness of veteran care through an ongoing programme of training and service provision.”