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The care provided to veterans, reservists, members of the armed forces and their families at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust (MTW) has been commended after the Trust has been officially honoured with ‘Veteran Aware’ status.

The accreditation has been awarded by the Veterans Covenant Healthcare Alliance (VCHA), a group of NHS 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.

In addition, MTW has also achieved a silver award for the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme. This is given to employers who have pledged to support the Armed Forces, signed the Armed Forces Covenant, promoted being Armed Forces-friendly and are open to employing reservists, veterans, cadet instructors and their partners.

The Armed Forces Covenant – which passed into law in 2021 – is a promise by the nation ensuring those who serve, or who have served, in the Armed Forces, and their families, are treated fairly.

The awarding of the status acknowledges MTW’s commitment towards a number of key pledges including:

  • Ensuring the armed forces community is never disadvantaged compared to other patients
  • Training relevant staff on veteran specific culture or needs
  • Raising awareness of appropriate charities or NHS services such as mental health and financial support.

The news of the achievements comes during celebrations of Armed Forces Week (24-30 June) with MTW starting the week with a special flag-raising ceremony at Tunbridge Wells Hospital.

Medical Director for MTW, Dr Sara Mumford, said: “We strive to be an exemplar of the best care for veterans and their families and we are so proud that we have achieved both the Veteran Aware status and Defence Employer Recognition Scheme silver award, which display our commitment to providing the highest quality of care and support to those who have served.

“A number of our staff are veterans, some of whom are now part of a dedicated team which helps give us a real insight into how we can tailor our care to best suit the needs of our veterans, armed forces personnel and their families.

“It is fantastic to mark these achievements during Armed Forces Week and we now look forward to building on this success, continuing to listen to our patients, their families and our staff to see how we can develop our support even further.”

VCHA Chairman, Prof Tim Briggs CBE, said: “More and more trusts are seeing the value of Veteran Aware accreditations as seen through the numbers of trusts that are now accredited, which is a testament both to the dedication of my team and to the wider NHS family who work tirelessly on behalf of the military community despite the many pressures they will be under. Well done all.”

Find out more about MTW’s support to the armed forces community.