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June 19, 2023

Veteran Aware reaccreditation for Bolton NHS Foundation Trust

Bolton NHS Foundation Trust has been reaccredited as Veteran Aware and have achieved a Silver Award for the Employer Recognition Scheme.

Having met the standards laid down by the Veterans Covenant Healthcare Alliance (VCHA), the Trust are now one of 147 NHS accredited providers across England.

James Mawrey, Director of People and Deputy Chief Executive said:

We are so proud that we have been accredited as Veteran Aware and we are fully committed to ensuring that veterans and their families are not at a disadvantage when using our services. It is vital that we are in a position to best support their needs.

“We plan to build on our silver award and continue learning from our patients and their families, enabling us to provide the highest quality of care to veterans.

The journey to reaccreditation began with veteran, Dr Simon Irving, who is a Consultant and Clinical Lead for Acute Medicine at the Royal Bolton Hospital.

With his military background, Simon is passionate about raising awareness and identifying veterans in the workforce, and the patients who use the services at the Trust.

Simon said:

Those who choose to serve their country, sign up and understand the risks to life and limb. They understand that they may see things that no one should have to see and people cope with things in different ways. Some people need help with that.

“The rates of alcoholism, drug abuse and suicide in returning soldiers demonstrates that more needs to be done. This cannot be just any counsellor, but someone with the skill and experience of dealing with the unique issues around war.

Simon is working alongside the Trust Workforce team to ensure that veterans are identified within the electronic patient record and provided with a Veteran Patient information leaflet, which signposts to local and national support organisations.

As a hospital Trust, Bolton:

  • Strives to be an exemplar of the best care for veterans and their families
  • Encourages all patients to let us know if they have ever served in the UK armed forces so that they can best support their care needs
  • Is committed to learning from patients and their families to improve quality of care
  • Ensures that all relevant staff are trained and educated in veterans’ needs

The Royal Bolton Hospital is a major hub in Greater Manchester for women’s and children’s services and the second busiest ambulance receiving site in Greater Manchester.

The area is a good recruiting ground for the Armed Forces; with a general population in Greater Manchester of around 2.9 million, it is estimated that around 232,946 (8%) are from the Armed Forces Community.

Mandy Stokes, Regional Lead for the VCHA, said:

I am so pleased that the commitment of the Trust to recognise the needs of the armed forces community has been recognised by the successful VCHA reaccreditation.  It has been a pleasure working with the Trust Leads for this work and I look forward to continuing to work with them as the agenda moves forward.

This year, Armed Forces Week will run from Monday 19 June, leading to Armed Forces Day on Saturday 17 June. This is a great opportunity to raise awareness and celebrate the achievements of veterans.

The Trust held a flag raising ceremony on Monday 19 June and invited all staff, patients and visitors. This was a memorial service conducted by the hospital Chaplain, supported by our veterans working for the Trust. There will be an information stand at the Main Entrance on the morning of Friday 23 June for staff, patients and visitors, to share how veterans are supported through all services.

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