Secure Care UK’s Lauren Offord still recalls an episode that left a deep impression on her and encouraged the company to work towards Veteran Aware status, which has been awarded today by the Veterans Covenant Healthcare Alliance (VCHA) in time for Remembrance.
A colleague told her about a patient detained by police due to concerns over his mental health that Secure Care UK, specialists in transporting mental health patients, had taken to a local hospital’s emergency department as a place of safety.
The ward identified the individual as a serving member of the armed forces and sat him with a member of staff, who is a veteran, while also contacting the individual’s base.
This conversation sparked her into finding out how Secure Care UK could best support patients, who were serving or veterans, while in their care.
Lauren, Veterans Aware champion and a Duty Control Operations Manager (DCOM) for Secure Care UK, said: “We work in quite a few locations that have a significant number of military personnel or ex-armed forces so we have come across quite a number of cases of people with PTSD or other mental health crises.
“Many of our own staff also come from a forces background so when I heard about the treatment this individual received it really impressed me and made me think we could and should improve the care and support we provide to the armed forces community when they are in our care.
“And the work we’ve done has been really positively received.”
The work has included staff training and developing staff awareness. Lauren has also developed an Armed Forces Support booklet for staff.
Managing Director Matt Jackson said: “At Secure Care UK we try to live by our PROUD values and working with Veterans Aware is so important in our desire to be the very best organisation we can be.
“All of our Secure Care bases have military bases nearby and we are honoured to have a number of ex-military colleagues and/or their partners in our teams already. Our commitment to Veteran Aware is about our organisation’s approach to becoming more mindful of how we can work even more effectively with our patients and colleagues from a force background.”
Professor Tim Briggs CBE, NHS National Director for Clinical Improvement in NHS England, VCHA National Lead and Honorary Colonel of 202 Midlands Field Hospital, said:
“It is especially poignant for the team and myself to be awarding Veteran Aware status at this time of year. Many of my team are either veterans or reservists so understand about the risks that service men and women undertake. It is only fair that we work towards improving healthcare for the armed forces community, once they have left active service.
“Veteran Aware accreditation means that Secure Care UK has made a huge commitment to the service men, women and their families in our country. They should be very proud of the efforts they’ve made; I know I am.
“Thank you for the work you’ve all put in, despite the undoubted pressures I know you will be under at the moment.”