The Royal Free London is one of three trusts in the capital to have been given special accreditation for the care it provides to those who have served in the armed forces.

The trust has been given its Veteran Aware status by the Veterans Covenant Healthcare Alliance (VCHA) in time for Remembrance Sunday, along with King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and London Ambulance Service NHS Trust.

The award means the trust has signed up to the ethos of the Armed Forces Covenant, which is a guarantee by the nation that those who serve or who have served in the armed forces and their families are treated fairly. 

Among the measures the trust has undertaken to achieve its Veteran Aware status is establishing links to appropriate nearby veteran services including mental health care and to appoint two veterans champions within the trust.

The champions are Lt Col Lucy Lamb (clinical) and Gary Tolometti (non-clinical).

The trust also has plans in place to improve the way patients who are veterans are identified and to raise awareness within the trust of veterans and the additional healthcare support they may need.

Caroline Clarke, group chief executive of the Royal Free London, said: “We want to ensure that veterans are able to access the healthcare that they need and so we’re delighted to have been given this special accreditation.

“Our work in continuing to support both staff and patients who’ve been members of the armed forces is the best way of saying ‘thank you’ to those who have those who have dedicated themselves to serving this country.”  

Professor Tim Briggs CBE, NHS National Director for Clinical Improvement in NHS England, VCHA National Lead and Honorary Colonel of 202 Midlands Field Hospital, said:

“It is especially poignant for the team and myself to be awarding Veteran Aware status at this time of year. Many of my team are either veterans or reservists so understand about the risks that service men and women undertake. It is only fair that we work towards improving healthcare for the armed forces community, once they have left active service.

“Veteran Aware accreditation means that these five trusts have all made a huge commitment to the service men and women of this country. They should be very proud of the efforts they’ve made; I know I am.

“Thank you for the work you’ve all put in, despite the undoubted pressures I know you will be under at the moment.”

There will be short services held at the entrance to each of our hospitals, Barnet Hospital, Chase Farm Hospital and Royal Free Hospital today. Staff, patients and visitors are invited to gather at 10.50am where a member of the chaplaincy team will lead staff into a two-minutes silence at 11am.