Imperial College Healthcare accredited as Veteran Aware

Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust has been formally accredited as ‘Veteran Aware’ by the Veterans Covenant Healthcare Alliance (VCHA), a group of healthcare providers in England committed to providing the best standards of care for the Armed Forces community, based on the principles of the Armed Forces Covenant.   

The Armed Forces Covenant - which has been passed into law - is a promise by the nation ensuring that those who serve, or who have served, in the Armed Forces, and their families, are treated fairly and do not face disadvantage in provision of healthcare and employment. The new accreditation is a formal recognition of the high quality service the Trust provides to the Armed Forces community. 

Major trauma director, Mr Shehan Hettiaratchy is the Armed Forces national specialty advisor to NHS England and national clinical director of Op RESTORE, NHS England's physical health and well-being service for veterans that is hosted by the Trust. He said: “As hosts of the Op RESTORE programme, the Trust is a national leader in provision of Armed Forces care. This VCHA award is another recognition of this and we are very pleased to become a Veteran Aware organisation, recognising our continued commitment improving the care for our Armed Forces veterans and their families." 

Professor Tim Briggs CBE, VCHA chair, said: “It is only right that people who have given so much, receive the same treatment as everyone else. By recognising the unique situation and issues faced by the Armed Forces community, we can continue in the right direction to ensuring this group does not face unwarranted variation in the care they receive.” 

Anna-Marie Tipping, regional lead south east and London, said: “Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust have demonstrated that they understand the needs of the Armed Forces community in the unique challenges faced in accessing healthcare and employment. The standards which the VCHA requires a Trust to meet are rigorous and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust have confidently met these head on. I congratulate the Trust on the accreditation and I look forward to us continuing to work together to remove disadvantage and pay due regard to the Armed Forces community”. 

The Veterans Covenant Healthcare Alliance (VCHA) is committed to improving Armed Forces community care whilst raising standards for all. As of February 2024, 176 (84%) NHS providers in England are now Veteran Aware accredited, and the VCHA aims to have all Trusts in England accredited.