Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust (LPT) has been congratulated after its Veteran Aware accreditation review was approved and endorsed by the Veterans Covenant Healthcare Alliance (VCHA).

The Veteran Aware status is only awarded to Trusts who provide the best care for veterans and their families, to ensure that they are not disadvantaged in the care they receive.

The Trust was first accredited as Veteran Aware in June 2019 and was then re-accredited again in July 2022. Since its initial review, the VCHA commented it was “evident there has been significant work undertaken,” by the Trust to improve its offer to those from military backgrounds who receive support from their services.

Jean Knight, deputy chief executive and executive sponsor of the Trust’s Armed Forces Network, said: “We are so proud to receive this re-accreditation and hope it inspires others to aim for the same high standard of care for military personnel and the armed forces community.

“Military service can have a big impact on both the physical and mental health of a person, as well as their family. It can lead to challenges when returning to civilian life. We’d encourage anyone from the armed forces community living in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, including veterans, to reach out for support if they need it.

“We understand the bravery it takes to come forward and we take our role to offer high-quality compassionate care very seriously. We are committed to doing all we can to educate our workforce and continuously innovate to improve our services for veterans – and indeed all our patients.”

The Trust runs Op Community, a telephone line for the armed forces community (including veterans, reservists, serving personnel, families and the wider armed forces community) to offer support and guidance around navigating NHS services and advice regarding other services that can support with issues.

Support can be reached by calling Op Community on: 0116 225 6858. The line is open Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm, excluding public holidays.

LPT’s Armed Forces Network is also working hard to raise awareness of the issues faced by those in the military community and developing ways for health professionals to identify those who have served using their health records.

In addition to this, the Trust has pledged its support for the armed forces community by signing the Armed Forces Covenant and is one of the only in the country to offer new and unique therapies to veterans, such as the chance to swim with emotional support dogs and get support from its Buddy2Buddy service.

To find out more about mental health support available serving and ex-service personnel visit: www.leicspart.nhs.uk/about/corporate-responsibilities/supporting-serving-and-ex-service-personnel/

To find out more about the VCHA visit: https://veteranaware.nhs.uk/