South East Armed Forces Symposium

Hosted by the Veterans Covenant Healthcare Alliance (VCHA) Regional lead Alison Watson

In partnership with NHSEI, Step Into Health, Reserve Forces’ & Cadets’ Association, Armed Forces Network, Walking with the Wounded, Surrey & Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust & Queen Alexandra Hospital.

This event was a valuable opportunity for organisations to have their say, hear about national and local developments in strategy & policy, access to valuable resources, sharing good practice, improving their knowledge, and networking.

The first South East Armed Forces Symposium hosted by the VCHA in June was a huge success!  Peaking at 100 attendees it welcomed a broad range of professionals and organisations from across healthcare and the Armed Forces Community. Chaired by Ali Watson, SE Regional Lead for the VCHA, it delivered a comprehensive agenda covering national strategy and policy, healthcare and voluntary sector support services, employment and the Armed Forces Network.  As well as offering an opportunity to hear about all the fantastic work going on in the region, such as the Armed Forces Covenant roles within Trusts, attendees were able to interact via the chat platform and ask questions of the panel.  Listeners heard, first hand, about the Veteran Aware accreditation journey for NHS Trusts happening nationally and how it is benefitting all their patients and their wider community. Importantly, key themes identified included improving care for specific groups of veterans, such as those suffering moral trauma and those who have served the British realm from other countries; working more collaboratively with the Veteran Friendly GP practices accreditation scheme; better understanding of local population health need; providing improved support to children and young people; the importance of data and evidence; and the diverse skills and knowledge that veterans can bring to roles in the NHS. This work will be taken forward by the regional team. Thank you to the partner organisations for their support: NHSEI, Surrey & Borders Trust, Step Into Health, SERFCA, Portsmouth Trust, the Armed Forces Network, and Sussex CCG.  Most of all, thank you to everyone who attended and the fantastic work you are doing with your patients. See you next time!