Plymouth has been awarded £80,000 to improve the health and wellbeing of service veterans in the city over the next two years.
The funding comes from proceeds from the LIBOR fines which were announced by the Government in the Autumn Statement on Wednesday 23 November 2016.
The new Veterans Care Navigation Service is the result of an integrated bid by Plymouth City Council and Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group. The new Care Navigators will be independent from the military and local authority and their primary role will be to support veterans to navigate and choose health, care and wellbeing services to best suit their needs. The service will be comprehensive and embedded within mainstream services.
Councillor Glenn Jordan, Cabinet Member for Culture and Armed Forces Champion for Plymouth City Council, said: “This is fantastic news for Plymouth. We have a large population of veterans in the city, estimated at around 20,000 and we know that there is a larger proportion of mental health needs within this population.
“The new service will help with the veterans’ transition back into civilian life and will complement the work already done by our Armed Forces Covenant in the city.”
Johnny Mercer, Plymouth Moor View MP, said: “I have been working behind the scenes with the excellent commissioning team at Plymouth City Council and the NEW Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) for many months to develop a high quality transition service for veterans and their families in Plymouth. As a veteran myself, elected as Member of Parliament for Plymouth Moor View in May 2015, it has been no secret that one of my pledges is to bring a step change in how care for veterans is delivered both locally and nationally. I have been impressed with how the team at the Council and the CCG have embraced the idea of providing a Veterans Care Navigation Service in Plymouth and am delighted that this service will be in place by the Spring next year as a result of this key Government funding. Plymouth can once again lead the way in the care and support services it provides for vulnerable inhabitants.
“I am particularly pleased that this project will enable an audit of the numbers of veterans in Plymouth. This new service will enable a more accurate picture of the real number of veterans in the city to be taken. Being clear on these numbers is essential if Plymouth is to be a leading example of what excellent provision for veterans and their families looks like and provide a service fit for purpose over the long term.”
Councillor Lynda Bowyer, Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care for Plymouth City Council, said: “There are a number of specific health needs for some veterans, such as PTSD for example, and the new Navigators will really help with integrating veterans back into the community, which we know can be a difficult experience. As well as signposting towards health and care services in the city, the Navigators will help advise the veterans about employment and training opportunities in the city.”
Vanessa Crossey, practice nurse lead for NHS NEW Devon CCG, said: “I hope that we can work in collaboration with the new veterans care navigation service and provide a much more joined up approach to veterans care and care pathways.
“Our primary care and General Practice colleagues will be in a prime position to support this great new service as it fits in perfectly with the General Practice Forward View.
“The new Care Navigators will be independent from the military and local authority and their primary role will be to support veterans to navigate and choose health, care and wellbeing services to best suit their needs. They will be based within Advice Plymouth so that the service is comprehensive and embedded within mainstream services.”
The service will support 250 veterans per year and also host a number of awareness raising events.
Plymouth’s Armed Forces Community and Corporate Covenants can offer a wide variety of support for Veterans and their families. Plymouth businesses are encouraged to sign up to their own Corporate Covenant pledges and to become part of the Corporate Covenant group. If you would like further information about the Plymouth Community or Corporate Covenant, you can find more online here.