Royal Berkshire Hospital Trust celebrate 1st anniversary of Veteran Aware status
The Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust have marked the first anniversary since receiving Veteran Aware accreditation.
The scheme helps patients, who are former or current members of the armed forces, feel supported when they are in hospital, for example with mental health or housing support.
Over the past year the Trust have had a member of staff from the Defence Medical Welfare Service based at the hospital two days a week. The accreditation recognises steps taken to help people transition into a career after they leave the forces.
Welfare Officer at Defence Medical Welfare Service, Jo Hunt, said: “I work hand in hand with clinical staff to provide ongoing support and welfare that’s needed amongst the Armed Forces Community. If you have done National Service, served for just one day or had a long career in the Forces, then please let the member of staff caring for you know so they can point me in your direction to support you.”
The Trust have been working with forces and veteran organisations in the community, including the Brock Barracks, and the Medical Centre at Benson RAF base.
Veteran Aware Clinical Lead, Dr Joseph Mulae, said: “Veteran awareness is vital to make sure we give the best care and experience to all our patients. Veterans may have conditions directly related to their military service and, in these instances, there are often dedicated resources available to help them for example Op Courage.
“Veteran awareness also extends to our workforce including the recruitment of veterans, and supporting employees who are serving, reservists, or are family members to those serving in the military. That’s so everyone can continue to benefit from the wealth of diverse experience they bring to the Trust family.”
They have also continued to work with the Gurkha community to understand their needs and how services can improve.
Chief Nurse, Eamonn Sullivan, a reservist in the Army Medical Services who has served as a nursing officer in Iraq and Afghanistan, said: “This is an issue I feel very passionate about. As a Trust, we are proud to have achieved Veteran Aware status and for our continued work in this area to have been recognised one year on.
“Across the organisation, we have made huge progress in understanding and making improvements for veterans and active Armed Forces patients and staff. We have also made a number of great connections in our local community, including with the Gurkha community, which we continue to build on.”