Trust extends its support for armed forces community

Posted: 20/05/24

Chief executive James Duncan signs armed forces declaration. Picture is over the shoulder of him holding a pen ready to sign a piece of paper.

Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW) offers further support for the armed forces community and their families.

The Trust has introduced a declaration for staff who are linked to the armed forces. This could be as a serving reservist, a veteran, a member of the Cadet Force Adult Volunteers or a family member.

Chief Executive James Duncan signed the internal Armed Forces Declaration last week.

On signing the document, he said: “We owe a huge debt of gratitude to those serving now in the armed forces and veterans who have served. And yet as a society we have often let down those who have served and have not provided the support and care they deserve, particularly when they have suffered harm or trauma through that service.

“At CNTW, we are committed to supporting veterans, those who serve in the armed forces and their families. Part of that is through mutual care, support and advocacy through our Armed Forces Association and part of it is though the services that we provide, led through OpCourage.

“This has always been important to me. Now, as a father of someone currently serving in the armed forces, it has even more personal meaning.  So, I’m delighted to be signing this declaration that I am a member of the armed forces community.  And I encourage all members of the community, including family members like me, to sign up to create a louder voice and a wider network of support. Together, we can show we care.”

By signing the declaration, staff will be eligible for specialist support such as extra help for relatives and staff on mobilisation and policy support and access to the Trust’s Armed Forces Association.

It also helps with the Trust’s recruitment strategy. Candidates are asked at the application stage to identify themselves as a member of the armed forces community.

The declaration is just one of the ways the organisation has demonstrated its support to the armed forces community.

CNTW is a Veteran Aware Trust, recognising its commitment to improving NHS care for veterans, reservists, members of the armed forces and their families.

The accreditation means the Trust commits to a number of pledges including:

  • Ensuring the armed forces community is never disadvantaged compared to other patients
  • Training relevant staff on veteran-specific culture or needs
  • Making veterans, reservists and service families aware of appropriate charities or NHS services beneficial to them
  • Supporting the armed forces as an employer

CNTW has also signed the Armed Forces Covenant, which is about fair treatment, removing disadvantage and ensuring veterans get the same access to services.

Part of this work involves encouraging more people from the armed forces community to join CNTW’s workforce. CNTW and NTW Solutions hold the Gold Award from the MOD’s Employer Recognition Scheme which publicly recognises employers’ efforts to support the armed forces.

CNTW also has a staff support group, the Armed Forces and Veterans Staff Association. As well as providing a space for people with similar experiences, the group works to ensure staff receive the right support, increase non-military staff’s understanding of the armed forces, and assist in Trust policy relating to armed forces.

If you would like to sign the declaration, please complete the form and return to [email protected]

The declaration form can be found on the Armed Forces and Veterans Association intranet page.

CNTW is the lead provider for Op COURAGE, the specialist mental health support service for Armed Forces veterans. Op COURAGE helps armed forces veterans, as well as serving personnel who are due to leave the military soon, reservists and their families.

For more information, go to the armed forces support webpage.