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Health Board congratulated for becoming Veteran Aware


National Veteran leads have congratulated Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) for its commitment to improving NHS care for Armed Forces Community (AFC) across North Wales. 

The Health Board’s three acute hospitals Wrexham Maelor, Ysbyty Glan Clwyd and Ysbyty Gwynedd recently received accreditation as Veteran Aware hospitals, which means they are raising veteran awareness, identifying veterans being referred for treatment, and striving to improve the recruitment and retention of veterans across the Health Board’s workforce.  

Last week the Commissioner for Wales Colonel Phillips visited Wrexham Maelor Hospital to showcase the support available to the AFC, and he raised the hospital’s new Veteran Aware flag, commending it for being the first in Wales to achieve accreditation with the Veteran Covenant Healthcare Alliance (VCHA). 

The National Lead for the VCHA, Professor Tim Briggs CBE, who formally approved BCUHB’s initial Veteran Aware accreditation, has also congratulated the Health Board for its “remarkable efforts”.  

The Health Board’s Armed Forces Lead, Army Veteran Zoe Roberts was acknowledged by the VCHA for her dedication to the hard work, having submitted evidence of a “very high standard” to achieve the Veteran Aware accreditation for Health Board’s acute hospitals 

Zoe said: “I am delighted to be the VCHA pathfinder for Wales. Leading the Health Board through the VCHA accreditation process and achieving “Veteran Aware” status for our hospitals, makes me so proud.” 

The VCHA is a group of NHS providers, including acute, mental health, community, and ambulance Trusts, who have agreed to be exemplars of the best care for, and support to, the AFC, be they Regular, Reserves, Veterans, spouses or dependants, and the bereaved. Participating Healthcare providers volunteer to develop, share and drive the implementation of best practice that will improve care for the AFC, in line with the commitments set out in the Armed Forces Covenant. 

Earlier this year the Health Board successfully launched the North Wales Veterans Healthcare Collaborative (NWVHC), to ensure that the AFC across North Wales are not disadvantaged in the care they receive, and where possible, that they receive personalised care and improved patient outcomes.   

Zoe added: “To be recognised by the VCHA for my high standards of work will only spur me on to strive for even better outcomes for the North Wales Veteran Healthcare Collaborative and our Support Services programme. Knowing that the work we are doing within BCUHB and across North Wales is positively impacting the lives of the AFC members makes me truly happy. 

“Becoming Veteran Aware accredited will ensure that those who serve, or who have served within our Armed Forces, including their families, will feel appropriately supported and allow us as a Health Board, to offer some much-deserved recognition for their Service to our country.”   

Colonel Phillips also saw the hospital’s new Poppy Programme in action, which aims to identify in-patients who are from part of the AFC to ensure they receive appropriate onward referral to external veteran support services and charitable veteran organisations, before they are discharged.