This mark of distinction means that patients who have served in the British Armed Forces will be cared for by frontline staff who have received training and education on their specific needs, such as around mental health, and who can signpost them to local support services.
DBTH is one of 24 NHS bodies across the UK that has received accreditation from the Veterans Covenant Hospital Alliance. The Alliance is made up of national bodies, including NHS Improvement, NHS England, the Department of Health and Social Care, the Ministry of Defence, and the Confederation of Service Charities.
Patients and visitors at Doncaster Royal Infirmary, Bassetlaw Hospital and Montagu Hospital can expect to see posters that services are ‘Veteran Aware’, such as in clinics and public waiting areas, encouraging them to notify staff that they have served in the armed forces. This is to ensure that the armed forces community is never disadvantaged compared to other patients.
Suzy Brain England OBE, Trust Chair, said: “I am extremely pleased that we have been able to gain this accreditation. This achievement is a positive reflection of the hard work and dedication of those involved to ensure we are an equitable and accessible care provider.
“Veterans, throughout their lifetime, make huge sacrifices in service of their country and I believe this is just one way in which we, as an organisation, can share our collective thanks and ensure their visit or stay within our hospitals is as comfortable as possible.”
Professor Tim Briggs, National Director for Clinical Quality and Efficiency at NHS Improvement and Co-Chair of the Veterans Covenant Hospitals Alliance, said: “I applaud Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals for becoming one of the first providers in the country to be accredited as ‘Veteran Aware’.
“People who have served in the armed forces can often have specific and varied needs and so, we must do everything we can to ensure the NHS continues to support those who have given so much for our country.
“As we mark the Armistice centenary, we are calling on other trusts to lead by this example and apply for their accreditation so that they can guarantee they are doing the exactly same.”
There are around 2.16 million veterans in England, making up between 3 and 9% of the population.