Here at Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust we know how important it is to support veterans in our care and in our local communities.
And that’s why we’re delighted to share the news that we have been named a Veteran Aware Trust in recognition of our work to improve NHS care for veterans, reservists, serving members of the Armed Forces and their families.
The accreditation means that we are now one of 80 UK Trusts to form the Veterans Covenant Healthcare Alliance (VC HA).
There have long been strong links between the Armed Forces and the communities of northern Lincolnshire.
Between March 2014 and March 2021 1,710 recruits from the Yorkshire and Humber area joined the Armed Forces – seven percent of which were from the communities we serve.
A number of roads and streets in our area are named after those who made the ultimate sacrifice for those under their protection and there are few events as well attended as the annual Armed Forces weekend hosted in both Scunthorpe and Cleethorpes each summer.
Playing our role
We are proud to be able to play our own part in supporting those brave men and women by committing 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’ 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 that may be beneficial to them, such as mental health services or support with financial and/ or benefit claims
- Supporting the Armed Forces as an employer
As a Veteran Aware trust, there are also posters and information available in our clinics and public waiting areas which encourage veterans to make themselves known to staff.
The initiative has been led by our Veterans Champions and former servicemen, Deputy Director of Estates and Facilities, Simon Tighe and Lead Medical Examiner, Mr Gordon McAdam.
Mr Tighe, who served in the Royal Navy Submarine Service for 20 years, said: “A number of our staff – myself and Gordon included – come from a military background and know the challenges faced by veterans, serving personnel and their families.
“As a Trust, we are committed to doing all we can to provide them with the support they need, providing them with the best possible care and helping them to access specialist services where appropriate.
“We also pride ourselves on providing long-term career options for those transitioning from life in the forces to civilian life and there are many life skills that are transferrable from the military into the NHS.”
The initiative is further supported by both North East Lincolnshire Council and North Lincolnshire Council, who provide vital links into our communities.
Alex Baxter, North East Lincolnshire’s Armed Forces Champion said: “We have worked extremely closely with the NLaG NHS Trust for some time and absolutely delighted to see they have now been recognised for the sterling work they do in understanding the essential care often needed in treating our veteran community, but it is also the hard work already being done within the Trust to gain this award, which continues unabated.
“We are proud of our relationship and association with the Trust and extremely confident that the experience of our veterans and their families is now formally recognised as being in very safe hands.”
Cllr Elaine Marper, Armed Forces Champion, North Lincolnshire Council, added: “We are delighted to extend our congratulations to Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Hospitals NHS Trust on their recent ‘Veteran Aware’ accreditation.
“North Lincolnshire Council has been working in partnership with the Trust for a number of years to develop a local response to the Armed Forces Covenant, through our North Lincolnshire Armed Forces Forum.
“This recognition ensures that North Lincolnshire continues to be a welcoming place for our valued Armed Forces community.”
Background on the VC HA
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 and one of only three men to be awarded the Victoria Cross for bravery twice.
In 2014, leading orthopaedic surgeon Professor Tim Briggs CBE wrote The Chavasse Report 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 CBE, NHS National Director for Clinical Improvement and co-chair of the VCHA, added: “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 GCB CBE MC, Patron of the VCHA 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. “