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Dedicated welfare officer to further enhance care of Armed Forces patients at UHNM

Armed Forces patients at University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust (UHNM) are set to benefit from specialist inpatient support and potentially quicker discharges thanks to a new, dedicated role.


UHNM has become first hospital Trust in Staffordshire to appoint a full-time Defence Medical Welfare Service (DMWS) Officer.


Thanks to funding from Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Integrated Care Board (ICB), Lucy McDonald, who beings begins her 18-month post this week, will provide emotional and practical support to UK Armed Forces community members at both the Royal Stoke University Hospital and County Hospital, Stafford.


Lucy said: “I’m very excited to begin my new role here at UHNM, helping to support the wellbeing and welfare of our armed forces patients across both hospitals. Working with these patients at the bedside, the role enables me to identify and solve issues or problems that may be contributing to a patient’s poor physical and mental wellbeing, delaying discharge or preventing a full recovery.


“As well as helping Armed Forces community patients with a range of psychological and emotional stress, anxiety and communication problems at the bedside, working with UHNM colleagues and local partner organisations I will be able to refer them, when needed, into dedicated Armed Forces services and charities, arranging support packages that include housing, rehabilitation support and advice on funding and benefits, which will also help to speed up the discharge process.”


UHNM has Veteran Aware Accreditation and is a member of the Armed Forces Covenant.


David Smith, Transformation Project Manager and Armed Forces Champion at UHNM, said: “We are very extremely grateful and happy that UHNM has been able to appoint this dedicated role for the benefit of our local Armed Forces community members across our various wards and departments. Lucy will be a fantastic asset, providing the essential link between our Armed Forces patients, the staff and clinical teams responsible for their care and the specialist services and charities that may be utilised to provide additional support.


“UHNM is a signatory of the Armed Forces Covenant and holds both Veteran Aware and Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (Gold) accreditations.  The addition of the DMWS Officer role further builds upon and strengthens our support and commitment to our Armed Forces Community.


“The Armed Forces Champions Team at UHNM receives a large volume of requests to go and support patients. While we currently have ‘Veterans Aware Champions’ on some of our larger wards and departments and we provide an outstanding service when available, we weren’t able to offer full-time availability. Having this role allows us to provide that dedicated support and continuity for the benefit of even more of our amazing veterans.”


Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent ICB Chief Medical Officer, Dr Paul Edmondson Jones served as an Army doctor for 23 years, seeing service in the Falklands conflict in 1982, the former Yugoslavia in 1993 and was awarded an MBE in 1992. He said: “I am delighted that UHNM have appointed to this post with the ICB’s support and warmly welcome Lucy into her new role. Armed forces veterans can face additional health challenges to which their former service may contribute. It is therefore important that we support these veterans and ensure they do not face extra health barriers.”


Lucys appointment coincides with the launch of ‘Op COURAGE’, an NHS mental health specialist service designed to help serving personnel due to leave the military and their families with a range of support and treatment. More information can be found at



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