Supporting our armed forces after service – new defence medical welfare team at The Royal Oldham Hospital

defence medical welfare team
Supporting our armed forces after service – new defence medical welfare team at The Royal Oldham Hospital
13 October 2016

A NEW defence medical welfare team have joined The Royal Oldham Hospital to provide help and support to members of the armed forces community, aged over 65 years, whenever they receive medical care at Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust.

It is estimated that there are some 25,000 members of the armed forces community who are aged 65 years and over living in the Greater Manchester area. The Defence Medical Welfare Service (DMWS) is an independent charity which provides help and support to aged veterans when they are following a medical care pathway.

A team from the charity is now based at The Royal Oldham Hospital and is available for patients, their families and health care professionals.

Tom Higgins and Tim Nelson, who have both served in HM Forces deliver a comprehensive impartial and confidential medical welfare service.

Tom said: “Our welfare service is delivered directly at the point of need. You’ll find us in all wards and departments at The Royal Oldham Hospital. We are there not only to support patients, their families and care givers, but the Trust’s dedicated and professional staff. We support patients, their families and staff whenever and wherever they need it.

“DMWS’s expertise lies in our early intervention and assessment of patient needs outside of the clinical treatment pathway, allowing health care providers to focus on their core work. DMWS welfare officers are highly professional and trained individuals, often from a military or NHS background. They are qualified in welfare studies and are trained mental health first aiders.

“Patients will arrive in clinical or medical settings with a range of support needs. We aim to work alongside health care providers and support workers to address the welfare needs identified. This can include: hospital visiting and providing a confidential and impartial ‘listening ear’; identifying issues that may be affecting a patient’s wellbeing such as finance debt, family breakdown and substance misuse; liaising with and supporting other family members; accompanying families to critical care and specialist units; resolving conflict and managing patient and family expectations and liaison between the workplace, NHS, service providers and the patient.”

The service is available Monday to Friday from 9.00am to 5.00pm. Clinical staff, patients and family members can contact Tom on 07730 21 95 68 or Tim on 07940 74 80. Out of hours contact number is 07721 12 77 81.

Tom and Tim are pictured above at The Royal Oldham Hospital.