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Hospital staff help celebrate veteran's 100th birthday


A Veteran from the Royal Army Services Corp celebrated his 100th birthday in Wrexham Maelor Hospital along with his family, fellow Veterans and BCUHB staff. 

When staff at the hospital found out that their patient Stephen Harvey, former Royal Army Services Corp and former Merchant Navy Seaman, was turning 100-years-old last week, they decided to throw a celebration in his honour. 

The Health Board’s North Wales Veterans Healthcare Collaborative (NWVHC) arranged for fellow Veterans, Royal British Legion and current serving reserve RLC Sargent John Currie from 398 (Welsh) Transport Squadron Queensferry, to attend the hospital and help celebrate Stephen’s birthday. 

Stephen thanked everyone for coming and helping him mark becoming a centenarian. 

Army Veteran Zoe Roberts, the Health Board’s dedicated lead for the NWVHC, said: “It was an honour to help celebrate this great man’s 100th birthday. It was lovely to see his family and fellow Veterans come together to mark Stephen’s special day, and I’d like to thank our Royal British Legion colleagues George Rogerson the North Wales District Chairman, Adrian Leslie Public Affairs and Campaigns Manager, and Sargeant John Currie, for coming to the hospital for such a lovely occasion, I’m sure it meant a lot to Stephen and his family.” 

The Health Board successfully launched the NWVHC earlier this year, to ensure that the Armed Forces Community (AFC) across North Wales are not disadvantaged in the care they receive, and where possible, that they receive personalised care and improved patient outcomes. 

As such Zoe designed and recently implemented the Poppy Programme, which seeks to identify patients from the AFC, including personnel currently serving, reserve personnel, veterans and their families. The programme is to support patients like Stephen, so every patient being admitted will be asked if they have served in the HM Forces and their Armed Forces status will be recorded. 

Zoe added: “I’m proud to have marked this day during a momentous month for the Veteran Healthcare collaborative. For those patients who are admitted into hospital, a palm-sized poppy magnet will be placed at their bedside, allowing nursing teams to discuss appropriate onward referral to external veteran support services and charitable veteran organisations, before they are discharged.” 

The celebration comes just a week after Wrexham Maelor Hospital, Ysbyty Glan Clwyd and Ysbyty Gwynedd achieved Veteran Covenant Healthcare alliance (VCHA) accreditation and are now classed as “Veteran Aware” hospitals.  

This means that all three acute hospitals have demonstrated that they are exemplars of best practice in relation to care and support for the Armed Forces community and are raising veteran awareness, identifying veterans being referred for treatment, and striving to improve the recruitment and retention of veterans across the workforce.