Engaging with veterans

On this page you will find a number of resources and links to some of the work we are doing, in partnership with other organisations in Doncaster to engage with our armed forces community.

Doncaster CCG is committed to supporting those that currently work in or have served in the armed forces. As a place, Doncaster continues to be a popular recruiting ground for the forces and, in addition to serving personnel, has thousands of ex-servicemen and women living in the borough, many of whom have on-going health issues.

Andy Martin has represented the views and experiences of thousands of people in Doncaster that have served or continue to service in the armed forces. He spent several years volunteering as a veterans’ welfare case worker, calling on his experiences since leaving the military and having a spinal operation 10 years ago.

Until May 2019, Andy brought both invaluable and useful insight into how local health services can be accessed by veterans and as a Health Ambassador in Doncaster, he, along with others, act as a ‘critical friend’ to health and care organisations, sharing views on organisational activities, associated with the delivery of their strategic plans.

Gary Stapleton now represents Doncaster’s armed forces community as part of the Health Ambassador network – we are delighted and look forward to working with Gary. The Health Ambassador network is used to test our approaches and methods to evaluating the effectiveness of our engagement activities. We regularly ask for views and thoughts on how we can constantly improve the way we engage and connect with all communities in Doncaster.

All GPs in Doncaster have access to a number of resources and tools from the Royal College of General Practitioners, one of which is a repository of information supporting GPs to ensure that veterans’ health care needs are addressed. In addition, a number of GP practices in Doncaster are working hard to become veteran friendly.

Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust offer a wide range of services and support for our local military and veteran communities. Improving access to psychological therapies provides support with common mental health problems and can be done on a one to one basis or via structured courses that run regularly. Individuals can be referred for treatment by their local GP or they can self-refer.

Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust became the latest NHS trust in Yorkshire and the Humber to publicly pledge its commitment to Britain’s armed forces. This means that Trust promises to support the military community and ensure that those who serve or who have served in the armed forces, and their families, are treated fairly.

As a CCG and on behalf of the NHS in Doncaster, we will continue to ensure that we address the mental and physical health of our military community.

At the last Doncaster Health and Wellbeing Board in January, a new plan was approved that will ensure all adults in Doncaster have access to the mental health support they need. The Better Mental Health (Adult) – Doncaster Improvement Plan 2018-2021 bring together a number of practical actions to improve mental health service delivery across Doncaster, in the context of the national Five Year Forward View for Mental Health, the Crisis Care Concordat, and the Prevention Concordat for Better Mental Health. A strong focus on mental health improvement and investment is also included in the national NHS Long Term Plan.

In constructing the Better Mental Health (Adult) plan it was recognised that a wide set of strategies are relevant and interconnected. The plan does not seek to restate those strategies but does include a number of actions related to improving adult mental health across Doncaster, recognising the importance of the Armed Forces and Veteran Covenant.

Further information can be found on Doncaster’s community website; Your Life Doncaster. Here, you will be able to access a range of information and support including services that operate across Doncaster designed to support veterans and our armed forces community.