11 June 2021

The Trust that runs Shropshire’s acute hospitals is to hold a lecture on its journey to become ‘Veteran Aware’, which will include the remarkable story of a former serviceman who survived post-traumatic stress disorder to take up a role at the Trust.

Paul Twitchell

The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH) online health lecture – Making our Hospitals Veteran Aware – will take place on Thursday (17 June) at 6pm.

You can sign up for the Health Lecture through Eventbrite here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/158102606151

The evening will include the story of Paul Twitchell, an RAF veteran whose health deteriorated through his military service. You will hear of his fight back to health and his journey to working initially as a volunteer and now as a porter in the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital.

Paul is now leading improvements in the care provided to veterans receiving treatment at SaTH.

The lecture will also include information on how clinicians now refer patients to military community charitable and statutory organisations who support returning veterans to health and wellbeing after discharge from hospital.

Dr Kevin Eardley, a Consultant Physician and Nephrologist at SaTH and a Major with 202 Field Hospital, who is hosting the health lecture, said: “Veterans and serving armed forces personnel have demonstrated through their service acts of selfless commitment to the nation.

“In so doing however some will experience detrimental effects on their physical and mental health. They might also face difficulty accessing the care they need. The reasons for this are many and include lack of understanding by healthcare professionals of the particular needs of veterans, and the complex ways their illness might present.

“The Armed Forces Covenant states the nation’s commitment to serving armed forces personnel, veterans, and their families that they will not face disadvantage compared to other citizens in the provision of healthcare.

“Recognising those who have performed military duty unites the country and demonstrates the value of their contribution. This has no greater expression than in upholding this Covenant.

“Shropshire has a long and proud military heritage. It is home for many serving personnel in our many bases and an even larger number of veterans. Our region has the ambition of being recognised nationally as a place where veterans feel so valued that they wish to live, work, retire, and be cared for into old age.

“Our region’s hospitals have an important role in this effort. We are very fortunate to have the Veteran Orthopaedic Service at the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Hospital. They are soon to have a multimillion pound Veteran Centre built where they will expand their nationally renowned service for veterans.

“SaTH has also committed to improving the experience of veterans using our services. This Health Lecture is an opportunity for us to highlight the progress of work done which has led to our recent accreditation by the Veterans Covenant Hospital Alliance as being Veteran Aware.”