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University Hospitals of Leicester joins wave of Veteran Aware trusts improving care for the forces
Press release date13/05/2019
University Hospitals of Leicester (UHL) NHS Trust has been named a Veteran Aware hospital in recognition of its commitment to improving NHS care for veterans, reservists, members of the armed forces and their families.

The accreditation, from the Veterans Covenant Hospital Alliance (VCHA), acknowledges the trust’s commitment to a number of key pledges
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  • Ensuring that the armed forces community is never disadvantaged compared to other patients, in line with the NHS’s 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 beneficial to them, such as mental health services or support with financial and/or benefit claims;
  • Supporting the armed forces as an employer. 


UHL is now one of 33 members of the VCHA and is part of only the second wave of trusts to be accredited.

Ian Crowe, Non-Executive Director at the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, said: “We are extremely pleased to be accredited as a Veteran Aware Trust. It is important that we are able to meet the needs of the Armed Forces community, both as employers and in the services we provide. Going forward, we are committed to support those who serve or have served in our Armed Forces”.

Trusts recognised as Veteran Aware will display posters in their clinics and public waiting areas urging anyone who has served in the armed forces to make themselves known to staff.

The VCHA was inspired by the heroism of Captain Noel Godfrey Chavasse VC and Bar, a doctor who gave his life rescuing men on the battlefields of the First World War.

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, and is managed by the Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT) programme.

Professor Briggs, Chair of GIRFT, NHS National Director for Clinical Improvement and co-chair of the VCHA, said: “These trusts should be very proud of the commitment they have made to the servicemen 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, Patron of the VCHA and former head of the British Army, said: “I am delighted that a second wave of our top hospitals has joined the Veterans Covenant Hospital Alliance. 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.”


Notes to Editor

  • The Veterans Covenant Hospital Alliance (VCHA) is a group of NHS acute hospitals which have volunteered to be exemplars of the best care for veterans and help to drive improvements in NHS care for people who serve or have served in the UK armed forces and their families. The VCHA will also link hospitals to the Armed Forces charities, which provide rehabilitation services and resources for veterans. When fully utilised, these services will enhance the recovery pathway for veterans in NHS hospitals. It will also help deliver NHS England and NHS Improvement’s objectives to highlight unwarranted clinical variation in hospital quality and efficiency.
  • The NHS is committed to the Armed Forces Covenant, which is a promise ensuring that those who serve or who have served in the UK Armed Forces, and their families, are treated fairly. The Armed Forces Covenant has two key principles: 1. The Armed Forces community should not face disadvantage compared to other citizens in the provision of public and commercial services. 2. Special consideration is appropriate in some cases, especially for those who have given most such as the injured and the bereaved. The NHS always prioritises people with the most urgent clinical need first, but after that should ensure that armed forces service related injuries receive timely treatment
  • There were an estimated 2.17 million military veterans in England in 2015, making up between 3% and 9% of the population (depending on the area).
  • 40.1% of veterans report at least one long-term health condition. The most prevalent issues reported among veterans are musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, respiratory and mental health conditions.
  • In addition to their work for veterans, reservists and forces families as patients, Veteran Aware hospitals are working with the existing initiatives Step Into Health and the Employer Recognition Scheme to ensure that NHS organisations are ‘forces friendly’ employers.



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