Duchess to give a royal seal of approval to new veterans' centre at orthopaedic hospital

Shropshire's orthopaedic hospital will welcome a royal visitor to open its new veterans' centre.

The Duchess of Edinburgh
The Duchess of Edinburgh

Sophie, The Duchess of Edinburgh will be be welcomed to the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital, at Gobowen, near Oswestry, on April 4.

Her Royal Highness will be unveiling a plaque to mark the official opening of The Headley Court Veterans’ Orthopaedic Centre and will also meet staff, patients and volunteers.

Health care for veterans and the Armed Forces is a known interest of the duchess, who is also Colonel in Chief of the Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps.

Stacey Keegan, chief executive of the orthopaedic hospital, said: “We are very excited that The duchess will be heading to Oswestry next month to formally open our veterans’ centre.

“We look forward to showcasing the facility and demonstrating the potential it has to transform the quality of care received by veterans from across the country.

“It will be a huge honour for us to welcome Her Royal Highness to our hospital and to introduce her to our passionate staff, as well as some of the veterans who have already benefitted from our services.”

The £6 million Headley Court Veterans’ Orthopaedic Centre is the first dedicated facility of its kind in the UK. It has evolved out of the Veterans’ Orthopaedic Service, which was the brainchild of orthopaedic surgeon Lt Col Carl Meyer.

“For a number of years, we have talked about veterans being seen in an environment that brings comfort to them and by clinical teams that have an understanding of military personnel and their unique needs,” said Lt Col Meyer.

“This is now reality, and it really does mark the beginning of a new era of bespoke care for our veteran patients and members of the Armed Forces.”

The two-storey building features nine standard examination and clinic rooms, an enhanced treatment room for minor outpatient procedures, an assessment room, a splinting and therapy room, as well as clinic space for virtual appointments.

In the main entrance of the building, there is a café and dedicated veterans’ hub where Shropshire Council and various military charities will provide support to veteran patients and their family and friends, with issues that range from homelessness, finance, debt management, welfare, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), benefits and more.

The upstairs of the centre includes dedicated research offices, clinical teaching and training space for staff, a multi-disciplinary team room, and an office for admin staff.

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