Shropshire health bosses sign armed forces covenant

An armed forces covenant, ensuring all GP practices in the county are equipped to best serve veterans and their families, has been signed by Shropshire health bosses.

From left, Mark Brandreth, interim accountable officer for Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin CCG, Colonel John Bell and Dr John Pepper, chair of the CCG
From left, Mark Brandreth, interim accountable officer for Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin CCG, Colonel John Bell and Dr John Pepper, chair of the CCG

Representatives from Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Shropshire Council and the armed forces signed the covenant on Tuesday.

It was signed as part of the ‘One Army, One NHS, One Community’ conference and is part of a veteran-friendly accreditation scheme being run in conjunction with the Royal College of GPs.

The conference took place at the Shropshire Education and Conference Centre and the covenant was signed by the CCG’s interim accountable officer and chair, Mark Brandreth and Dr John Pepper, as well as Colonel John Bell representing the armed forces.

Mr Brandreth said: “Work to ensure that veterans are given the fairness and respect they deserve is something very close to my heart.

"I have been involved in work to improve conditions for veterans for many years now so this agreement is important in its intentions.

“The covenant is our pledge as a CCG to honour and respect anyone who has served or is serving in the armed forces, as well as their families.

"The agreement is important for members of the armed forces community as it ensures the same access to the same services as any other citizen.

“This includes support provided within education and family wellbeing, starting a new career, financial assistance and most significant for the CCG, access to healthcare.”

Dr Pepper said: “It is incredibly important for our veterans to be treated with fairness and respect in our communities.

“For all those who have proudly served or continue to serve to protect our nation, doing so with honour and courage, this covenant is for you.”

Sean McCarthy, armed forces covenant lead for Shropshire Council, added: We are delighted that Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin CCG has signed the armed forces covenant.

“It demonstrates commitment to supporting staff who have a connection to the armed forces as well as the armed forces community. Shropshire Council is committed to supporting businesses that want to sign the armed forces covenant.”

The veteran-friendly accreditation programme is led by NHS England and NHS Improvement and is currently open to GP practices across the country.

Nearly 1,000 GP practices in England are already accredited through the programme and benefit from support to identify and code their veterans.

A clinical lead is also appointed as part of the programme who undertakes training and other activities related to veteran healthcare.

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