THE TRUST that runs Queen Alexandra Hospital is one of the first NHS bodies in the country to be accredited as ‘Veteran Aware’ – as the nation marks the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.
The mark of distinction has been awarded to Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust by the Veterans Covenant Hospital Alliance.
It means patients who have served in the UK armed forces will be cared for by frontline staff, who have received training and education about veterans’ specific needs, including mental health.
Melloney Poole, chair of Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, said: ‘I’m delighted we are among the first to become an accredited veteran-aware hospital.
‘Our staff work with more than 260 personnel from the Defence Medical Group (South), doctors, nurses and allied health professionals from the Royal Navy, army and Royal Air Force.
‘As an organisation we are committed to being armed forces friendly.
‘In June we signed the Armed Forces Covenant pledging to enshrine the covenant in our staff and patient policies, services and projects.
‘This includes committing to the covenant, raising awareness among staff of veterans’ healthcare needs and establishing links with service charities and local support providers.
‘When hospitals demonstrate they are delivering these high standards, they will be publicly accredited as ‘Veteran Aware,’ and I’m delighted we have achieved this important milestone.’
Portsmouth Hospital NHS Trust is one of the first 24 NHS bodies across the UK to receive the accreditation.
The Veterans Covenant Hospital 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.
Professor Tim Briggs, co-chair of the alliance, said: ‘I applaud the trust for becoming one of the first in the country to be accredited as ‘Veteran Aware’.
‘People who have served often have specific and varied needs, so we must do everything we can to ensure the NHS continues to support those who have given so much for our country.’