Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust  (LPT) has become one of the country’s first mental health Trusts granted formal ‘Veteran Aware’ accreditation.

The announcement, recognising the Trust’s commitment to improving NHS care for serving and ex-service personnel and reservists, comes as residents across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland prepare to mark Armed Forces Day on Saturday (29 June).

LPT is now one of just  two mental health Trusts* and a total of 36 NHS Trusts in the UK  awarded the Veteran Aware mark by the Veterans Covenant Healthcare Alliance (VCHA). It highlights NHS Trusts that have made a series of pledges, such as ensuring members of the Armed Forces community are never disadvantaged when receiving care, training staff on veteran-specific needs, and supporting the Armed Forces as an employer.

It comes two years after the Trust made an official pledge to support Armed Forces personnel past and present, by signing the Armed Forces Covenant and a year after gaining Silver Armed Forces Covenant status.

LPT chief executive Dr Peter Miller, who signed the Armed Forces Covenant on behalf of the Trust in June 2017, said: “We are proud to show our commitment to supporting veterans, both as a healthcare provider and as an employer and it’s timely that we have received Veteran Aware accreditation in the lead up to Armed Forces Day.

“We see this as a major milestone in our continued commitment to support our military communities across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland .”

Veteran Brendan Daly, Armed Forces lead for LPT added: “We know that people’s military experiences can often lead to challenges when they return to civilian life and LPT is committed to ensure the mental health of veterans is taken seriously.

“This accreditation reflects our continued commitment that any veteran known to our services will receive timely and appropriate health care and should not suffer in silence.  When a veteran declares their status to us we will do all we can to support their physical and mental wellbeing, including signposting them to appropriate services and organisations.”

Professor Professor Tim Briggs CBE, chair of  NHS Improvement’s Getting It Right First Time, NHS national director for clinical improvement and chair of the VCHA, commented: “Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust has made great strides in improving the care it provides to the servicemen and women of this country, and should be very proud.It is very fitting to mark Armed Forces Day by welcoming it as one of three more Trusts to the Veterans Covenant Healthcare Alliance.”

The VCHA is working with NHS Trusts across the country to improve standards of care for the Armed Forces community and aims to have 75 providers accredited by the end of the year.

*The only other mental health Trust with Veteran Aware status, also awarded in this phase, is Sussex Partnership NHS Trust.

Picture caption: LPT chief executive Dr Peter Miller (second from right) marks the Trust’s Veteran Aware status with (left to right) Jennie Palmer-Vine, LPT’s Armed Forces clinical lead, Rob Melling, head of community development  and veteran Brendan Daley, Armed Forces lead for the Trust.