On 11 January at Stockwell Primary Care Network in South London, Anna-Marie Tipping delivered a training session to a group of physiotherapists, social prescribers, and pharmacists. They wanted the Veteran Covenant Healthcare Alliance (VCHA) Regional Lead for London to talk about the health and psychosocial issues that can affect armed services personnel, and to find out what those in Primary Care can do to support them.
The former Royal Navy Warfare Specialist – who also features on page 18 of the recently published Veterans’ Strategy Action Plan 2022 – 2024 – continued: “It’s important to address common misconceptions. The Armed Forces community is a complex group. What, and who is a veteran; the issues faced by their families; and what needs to be done to support our Reservists. This all needs to be addressed.”
“I was asked to address this group by Educational Lead, Dr Anand Patel, because the Network found the available services offered to the Armed Forces community are not widely known by staff. I had been contacted by them following the work I’ve been doing with Trusts in London.”
“I talked about this, as well as practical areas that the NHS needs to think about to when best supporting its patients. Identifying patients; mental health; physical health; the needs of families who often have to move several times; and the available services. There’s also quite a bit of myth busting that’s required – and that bit’s often quite satisfying.”
The afternoon session was detailed, and the audience was receptive and engaged. This was echoed by Dr Patel, who thanked Anna-Marie saying: “I wanted to thank you again for speaking to us yesterday, it was truly eye-opening. It was great to see everyone so interested and enthused to get involved with supporting veterans and their families.”
Anna-Marie concluded: “There was a genuine interest in learning about this space. It sparked really meaningful conversations. My session highlighted the importance of primary care in the identification of patients. I was encouraged to see how eager this group was to learn about the Armed Forces community, and I thank them for the opportunity to come and talk to them. Hopefully I gave them a good understanding of this particular group, plus how they – with their own expertise and by signposting to other resources – can best assist a group who are very special to me, and of whom I am proud to be one.”
The Veteran Covenant Healthcare Alliance (VCHA) is committed to improving Armed Forces and Veteran care whilst raising standards for all. 105 NHS providers in England are now Veteran Aware accredited, and the VCHA aims to have all Trusts in England accredited by November 2022 at the latest. Find out more about our work and about Rehabilitation by clicking here.