Active Duty Event 14th November 2011

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A stakeholder event was held at Liverpool Football Club (a big draw for some – I saw several people being photographed next to various memorials), organised by NHS Merseyside, to engage with military veterans in a bid to improve the level of care they receive from the NHS.  I was invited to attend by Michelle Cox, Lead for Veteran Health at NHS Merseyside, as I’ve recently tendered to deliver a related project for her.

The event was attended by ex-military personnel, from those who had served recently to veterans who had left many years ago, NHS staff and representatives of a variety of relevant agencies and charities. The event focused on veterans’ views, thoughts and experiences of accessing and using NHS services.

Opened by Leonie Beavers, Managing Director of Liverpool PCT and chaired by Tom Fairclough, Commissioning Manager at Liverpool PCT, the event started with a series of interesting and thought-provoking talks from Michelle Cox, Major Mark Austin and Frank Doran (a veteran). The Lord Mayor of Liverpool introduced the Military Covenant and a very moving short DVD on the real life experiences of veterans. Sharon Makin from ‘Big White Wall’ presented the interesting new online resource and demonstrated how veterans can access and use the service and Neil Platt introduced the Restore Model.

In the following workshops, we had a lively discussion (on my table at least – I was too involved to notice what was going on elsewhere), with some moving personal experiences and plenty of helpful suggestions for improving services for the future.

During the final feedback session there was a wealth of new information for me – almost overwhelming, and it was clear that there were a lot of people who care deeply about the welfare of veterans and their families, and many who are working hard to make their lives better.