NHS trust works to improve support for veterans in Hackney, Newham and Tower Hamlets

An East London NHS trust is working to improve servies and healthcare for veterans in Hackney, Newha

An East London NHS trust is working to improve servies and healthcare for veterans in Hackney, Newham and Tower Hamlets. Picture: PA/Ben Birchall. - Credit: PA

An NHS trust is calling on colleagues, carers and service users to help steer a project aimed at improving support for veterans in Hackney, Newham and Tower Hamlets.

East London NHS Foundation Trust (ELFT) has just joined the national Veterans Covenant Healthcare Alliance (VCHA), a group of more than 50 providers aiming to improve the healthcare veterans receive from the NHS.

Part of the project will focus on understanding how armed forces veterans use health and social care services and how to improve them.

“We want to better support this group of people, ensure we recognise their unique needs and consider how their specialist skills and experience can also support us in our work,” said Jane Kelly, ELFT Clinical Lead for Recovery, who is leading the project with Dr Paul Gilluley, ELFT Chief Medical Officer.

READ MORE: New advice service set up for Hackney veterans during coronavirus crisis

While mental illness affects many people, veterans may experience specific problems such as anxiety or depression relating to a transition back to civilian life, traumatic events or life-changing injuries.

The project will also look a the positive contribution made by veterans as they hope many will help steer the project and share perspectives on different services.

Employment opportunities will also be offered as veterans have unique skill sets which could likely benefit services operationally.

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The trust is appealing to anyone, passionate about care and support for the armed forces community, to join a steering group to discuss ideas and priorities for the project.

The group will include people who currently serve in the armed forces as reservists, anyone who has ever served as well as their families and loved ones. It is also open to members of the armed forces community, which includes carers, who use trust services.

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The trust will also be looking for a “veterans champion” to help represent the project, deliver training and highlight why the alliance is important.

Currently, the ELFT is applying for accreditation through the VCHA. If successful, ELFT would be formally considered a “Veteran Aware” Trust and join a growing VCHA programme across England.

If you are interested in supporting the Trust’s veterans’ work email jane.kelly10@nhs.net

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