NHS Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin signs Armed Forces Covenant

4 December 2023

On, Wednesday 28 November, NHS Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin confirmed its commitment to the armed forces community by signing the Armed Forces Covenant.

Sir Neil Mckay, Chair, and Simon Whitehouse, Chief Executive, for NHS Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin signed the Armed Forces Covenant, alongside Colonel Clare Dutton for the Ministry of Defence, to demonstrate NHS Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin’s intention to ensure that those who serve or have served in the armed forces and their families will be treated fairly.

Representatives from Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin Integrated Care System were present at the event including NHS Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, Shropshire Council, Telford & Wrekin Council, Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, The Robert Jones & Agnus Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital and Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust, as well as members of the voluntary and community sector.

During the event, Severn Hospice, also pledged their commitment to support the Armed Forces with Becky Richardson, Director of Care signing their own Armed Forces Covenant.

The Armed Forces Covenant is a public pledge to ensure that Veterans and Reservists aren’t at a disadvantage when it comes to accessing healthcare or other public or commercial services. Businesses, public bodies or charities who wish to support the armed forces community can sign the covenant and publicly declare their commitments.

Sir Neil Mckay, Chair of NHS Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin, said: “We are proud to sign the covenant and support our all of our Armed Forces Community. We are committed to do all we can as an organisation and a system to ensure that veterans, currently serving colleagues across the armed forces and their families are treated fairly, have opportunities to work with us and have equal access to services.

“We are honoured, and it is a real privilege to be at the event with so many of the organisations providing health and care in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin. We are fully committed and are excited to continue this journey.”

Becky Richardson, Severn Hospice’s Director of Care, said: "We are extremely proud to have signed the Armed Forces Covenant. Severn Hospice provides specialist palliative care and support to patients and their families living with incurable illness.

"As a hospice we are determined to ensure our services are inclusive and accessible to all our communities, and this means not only for our patients but our staff too.

"Every contact we make with our community matters to us, and we want to be sure that our services and the care we give is enhanced through the pledge we have made to the Armed Forces community. By forging these links, we are able to be inclusive to everyone who wishes to access our care."

A veteran is described by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) as anyone who has served for a day in HM Forces. There are approximately two million veterans in the UK.  The Census 2021 shows there are 14,800 people residents in Shropshire aged 16 and over who had previously served in the UK Armed Forces – in Telford & Wrekin the number was 7,000, so nearly 22,000 in the county. Identifying veteran patients as soon as possible is vital for getting them and their families the support needed to ensure best outcomes.  Over half of veterans (52%) have a long-term illness or disability, but many face different health challenges to the general population and may be reluctant to ask for help especially if they think they may not be understood. NHS Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin is aware of the need to support staff to ask patients or members of their immediate family if they have served in the armed forces so they can be signposted to specific services and support if needed.

The Armed Forces Covenant sets out the relationship between the nation, the government and the Armed Forces. It recognises that the whole nation has a moral obligation to members of the Armed Forces and their families, and it establishes how they should expect to be treated.

NHS Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin Covenant has two key principles, which are:

  • no member of the Armed Forces community should not face disadvantage in the provision of public and commercial services compared to any other citizen;
  • in some circumstances special treatment may be appropriate, especially for the injured or bereaved.

By signing the covenant, NHS Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin recognises the value that serving personnel, reservists, veterans and military families bring to the organisation, and to our country.

NHS Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin has pledged to promote that it is armed forces-friendly and will support the employment of veterans, recognising military skills and qualifications in the recruitment and selection process.

Page last updated 4 December 2023