NHS Hull Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has been awarded a Silver Award in the Armed Forces Covenant employer recognition scheme.
The Armed Forces Covenant is a promise from the nation that those who serve, or who have served, in the Armed Forces are treated fairly. The employer recognition scheme publicly recognises the efforts made by an organisation to support defence personnel.
The CCG signed up to the Covenant in 2019, with an ongoing scheme of work and in person events planned to highlight the ways in which primary care (GP services) could support Armed Forces personnel and veterans. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic putting immense pressure on health services, the commitment to the Covenant did not wane.
This has seen the CCG be accredited with silver employer status.
Colin Webb, Primary Care Commissioning Manager, who has spearheaded the programme across primary care in Hull, said: “It was of great importance to me to ensure that veterans were recognised in our local GP practices and that the CCG was promoting and supporting steps to make health services more inclusive for those who have served.
“When we first began this work we had around 200 patients registered with our practices who had told us they has been in the Armed Forces; we now have in excess of 3,000. Identifying veterans on our GP practice lists allows teams to better support the patients’ individual needs, which may be quite different to those who have not served.”
Nationally, there are dedicated services for Armed Forces personnel and veterans, with veterans entitled to priority access to NHS healthcare for conditions associated to their time in the forces (subject to clinical need).
Therefore it is imperative that anyone who has served in the forces, even for just a short period of time, informs their GP practice.
Colin added: “Leaving the forces and starting life on Civvy Street can be quite the adjustment, often we see ex-forces personnel unaware of the services and support open to them. We are proud to have made a sustained commitment to veterans through the Covenant and will continue to do our very best for those who have proudly served our nation.”
Find out more about the Covenant here www.armedforcescovenant.gov.uk