Improving Awareness of Veteran Healthcare

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Numerous speakers, agencies, and charities will present at the Cardiff Veterans Health Study Day taking place on Friday, 15 June to help medical professionals become better-informed about the medical needs of military veterans.

Among those speaking will be veterans, family members of service personnel, and representatives from charities and agencies who work to provide military veterans with the support they need to re-build their lives.

To book your place, or find out more about the Cardiff Veterans Health Study Day taking place on Friday, 15 June 2018 at University Hospital of Wales, please contact CPDadmin@cardiff.ac.uk. You can also download the programme here.

 

Blesma

Blesma was founded in the aftermath of the First World War, when over 40,000 British men lost limbs.

One hundred years later, and the charity continues to enable limbless veterans to lead independent and fulfilling lives. Blesma provide support to limbless veterans through a range of services.

These include assistance and support for those fitted with a prosthesis; an activity programme (including sport-, art-, and community-based activities), financial assistance grants; information regarding benefits; a community programme delivered by Blesma’s wounded veterans; and Blesma Support Officers, who provide advice and emotional support.

 

Walking With The Wounded

Walking With The Wounded was established in 2010 to support a pathway for vulnerable veterans to re-integrate back into society and sustain their independence. At the heart of this journey is employment.

Through their programmes (Home Straight, Project Nova, Head Start, Step into Health and First Steps), Walking With The Wounded offer assistance to those vulnerable veterans who have been physically, mentally or socially disadvantaged by their service, and assist them in sustaining their independence through new, sustainable careers outside of the military. 

 

The Ripple Pond

The Ripple Pond was set up by two mothers of seriously wounded servicemen, who recognised that no similar service existed purely for adult family members, and who found strength and comfort by sharing and supporting each other through such a unique challenge.

The organisation empowers members to seek support when they most need it, whether through group meetings, a buddy scheme, or an online forum.

Many members are facing similar situations, and the Ripple Pond gives them a safe space, both physically and mentally, to deal with them.

 

Blind Veterans

Blind Veterans was founded over a century ago in 1915, when it was known as the Blinded Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Care Committee.

Since then, the organisation has supported veterans to achieve victory over blindness.

Blind Veterans helps ex-service men and women to lead independent and fulfilling lives through in-depth expertise, experience, and a full range of services.

Through programmes in rehabilitation and training, care, and recreation, the organisation helps blind veterans adjust to sight loss, overcome the challenges of blindness, and enjoy everyday life.                                                                                                                

They have training and rehabilitation centres in Brighton and Llandudno.

Veterans’ NHS Wales

Veterans’ NHS Wales was founded to improve the mental health and wellbeing of veterans who live in Wales, through the development of sustainable, accessible, and effective services that meet their needs.

Day-to-day, the service is delivered from the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff, while other Local Health Boards across Wales have appointed an experienced clinician as a Veterans’ Therapist (VT) with an interest in, or experience of, military health problems.

 

Help for Heroes

Help for Heroes believes that those who put their lives on the line for us deserve a second chance at life.

The charity provides lifetime support for veterans, service personnel, and their families.

By empowering veterans and service personnel to look beyond illness and injury, Help for Heroes helps them to reach their potential, regain their purpose, and have a positive impact on society.

They do this through a number of support services including sports recovery, psychological support, health and wellbeing, career recovery, and welfare.

 

Lt Col Julian Woodhouse

Lieutenant Colonel Julian Woodhouse is an army GP and GP trainer based in Pirbright, Surrey. He leads a team providing primary care to some 4,500 patients, most of whom are young recruits in their first 14 weeks of basic training. Julian also has the privilege of sharing the medical centre with the First Battalion Welsh Guards.

Having served on every continent over nearly 30 years in the Army (including the Antarctic) on multiple operational tours, Julian has developed a passion for teaching fellow health professionals about the care of armed forces veterans.  

 

Rod Eldridge

Born and raised in south Wales, Rod Eldridge trained as Registered Mental Health Nurse in 1982 in Gloucester. On qualifying in 1986, he joined the Army Medical Services.  

Following a successful career, Rod left the Army in 2012 to settle in South Norfolk with his wife Sally (who is an ex-Army nurse) and his two children Megan (who goes to Sandhurst in September 2018) and Hayden. 

During his service, Rod further qualified as Registered General Nurse, Community Psychiatric Nurse, Cognitive Behavioural Therapist, and Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing Therapist.  

He was appointed as first Nurse Consultant (Mental Health) for the Defence Medical Services, holding the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. 

Rod has completed eight operational tours, latterly of Iraq and Afghanistan, serving mainly on entry operations as a qualified military parachutist with Airborne Forces. 

Rod has worked as a mental health nurse and therapist for most of his working life, and has a sound knowledge of military-related mental health issues and their management or treatment.  

His current role is Clinical Lead with Walking With The Wounded (WWTW), providing military consultative support to the MOD-funded digital mental health service ‘Big White Wall’.

Rod is an active member of numerous working and advisory groups linked to the MOD, the NHS, and charity sectors to help improve the care and support pathway for serving and ex-service personnel. 

He has also co-written or contributed to a number of academic studies in relation to service or veteran mental health.

 

Jiffy Myers

Jiffy Myers served a full 24-year career in the Welsh Guards, before retiring in 2014 as Senior Warrant Officer.

During his service, Jiffy deployed on operations to Northern Ireland and Bosnia. Due to injuries to his hearing from mortar explosions, he served as the Regiment’s Welfare Officer (remaining in the UK) for tours of Iraq and Afghanistan. Jiffy was awarded an MBE in 2011 for services to armed forces welfare.  

Since leaving the Army, Jiffy has been employed as Regimental Veterans Officer, providing welfare support to injured Welsh Guardsmen and their families. 

 

Julia Molony

Julia Molony is the Founder of The Ripple Pond, a national network of peer-led self-help support groups for the adult family members of injured service personnel. She is a psychotherapist by profession, and lives in West Sussex. 

 

Tom Hall

Tom Hall, who is originally from Sheffield, was long-ago adopted by a Welsh family.  He joined the Army in September 1988 as an Infantry Soldier with the1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, serving in the Gulf in 1991 and Bosnia in 1993.

Tom later transferred to the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers in November 1998, where he enjoyed employment in Training, Media, Special Projects and Welfare. After promotion through the ranks, including a challenging tour as the Garrison Sergeant Major in charge of the repatriation of servicemen killed in action at Bastion Joint Operating Base in Afghanistan in 2009, he gained commission as an Army Officer. 

Tom’s last employment post was working in Army Recovery supporting Wounded, Injured and Sick Soldiers at the Personnel Recovery Unit in Brecon.

Tom resigned his commission in October 2017, leaving the Army after over 29 years, to join Blesma -The Limbless Veterans Charity, as Representative and Support Officer for Wales and West. 

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