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New veteran poppy programme will help personalise patient care


Ahead of Remembrance Day Wrexham Maelor Hospital has implemented a Poppy Programme which seeks to identify patients from the Armed Forces Community (AFC) including personnel currently serving, reserve personnel, veterans and their families. 

Earlier this year Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) launched a new programme called the North Wales Veterans Healthcare Collaborative (NWVHC) to ensure that the AFC across North Wales are not disadvantaged in the care they receive, and where possible, that they receive personalised care and improve patient outcomes.   

The Poppy Programme aims to ensure that all patients in acute hospital admission areas are asked if they have served in HM Forces and their Armed Forces status will be recorded. 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. 

Army Veteran Zoe Roberts, dedicated lead for the NWVHC, said: “One of the main barriers to supporting the AFC across North Wales is not knowing who they are. The Poppy Programme will give us significant insight into understanding the proportion of patient population who make up our AFC and who are accessing and require our services.  

“More importantly, this programme of work will offer an opportunity to ensure that our AFC have access to essential veteran support services when they leave and aid BCUHB staff in supporting veterans back into their homes, communities and wider society, avoiding the need to return to hospital for further clinical interventions.” 

The Poppy Programme has started with a pilot on Wrexham Maelor‘s Surgical Assessment Unit (SAU), and over the next six months it will be implemented across a number of admission areas including the Acute Medical Unit (AMU) and then throughout Emergency Department within Wrexham Maelor Hospital. 

Once the programme is operational in Wrexham Maelor Hospital, it will then be implemented across Ysbyty Glan Clwyd and Ysbyty Gwynedd. 

To mark the start of the programme representatives from the Royal British Legion attended SAU including George Rogerson, Chairman of the North Wales District and Adran Lesley Public Affairs and Campaign Manager, and Stephen Boswell, Regional Operations Support Manager for Wales from the Armed Forces charity, the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSFA). 

Health Board pledges to support Armed Forces community across North Wales

Earlier this year the Health Board signed the new Step into Health pledge, which aims to support career opportunities for members of the Armed Forces Community by setting up training opportunities, work placements, insight days, and offering application support. 

The Health Board also has a Gold Award for the Government’s Employer Recognition Scheme for the multi-channel support and salutes to past and present Service personnel, and demonstrates it’s an exemplar to other large employers and armed forces friendly employer.