The Veterans Covenant Healthcare Alliance (VCHA), which is delivered by GIRFT, has been highly commended at the Health Service Journal (HSJ) Awards for its work in improving NHS care for members of the armed forces community.
The glittering black-tie event – hosted by actor James Nesbitt at the Battersea Evolution Centre in London – saw more than 1,000 healthcare professionals gathered to hear about some of the most innovative and successful teams and projects in the NHS.
More than 20 awards were presented, including in two new categories recognising the work the NHS does to support both ex-military personnel and reservists among its own staff. GIRFT was highly commended from nine shortlisted finalists for the Military and Civilian Health Partnership Award.
The winner of the category was Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group, for its work in making the identification of veterans a priority and providing the best care to them.
The director of the VCHA, Ian Donnelly, said: “It was fantastic to be at the awards and to see some of the amazing work being carried out across our wonderful NHS. Being highly commended for our VCHA work was a reflection of the hard work of everyone involved in the delivery programme, and we were very honoured to have that work recognised.
“Our congratulations go to Sunderland CCG, as very deserving winners. Their work to make sure veterans get the best possible care is truly exemplary.”
Led by a steering group of healthcare and military representatives, and delivered by the Getting It Right First Time programme (GIRFT), the Veterans Covenant Healthcare Alliance (VCHA) supports NHS providers to meet a series of pledges aimed at reducing unwarranted variation in the care provided to servicemen and women, veterans, reservists and their families. Trusts that meet these standards are accredited as Veteran Aware, with 41 providers across the country already carrying the mark.
The VCHA was set up by GIRFT chair Professor Tim Briggs, following his work on The Chavasse Report, which was published in 2015 and identified unwarranted variation in the care of veterans with musculoskeletal injuries. 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, the report recommended establishing a support network of hospitals.
Initially focusing on acute NHS trusts, the VCHA is now working with community, ambulance and mental health providers, having accredited its four Veteran Aware mental health trusts this year.
For more information on the VCHA, visit our Veteran Aware page.