We’re committed to supporting our armed forces’ community

Chairman Sir Richard Ibbotson with Captain Sarah Oakley Royal Navy at the unveiling of the Veteran Aware Award

Published: 17 November 2023

Our commitment to supporting the health and wellbeing of our community’s armed forces has been recognised with the unveiling of the Armed Forces’ Covenant Healthcare Alliance Accreditation Award.

There are 84, 835 people living in Devon who have served our country. They often have different health and care needs once they have left the armed forces services, and may need tailored help to access the support they may need.

The Armed Forces’ Covenant recognises our commitment to ensuring veterans in Torbay and South Devon receive the health care and support they need, when they need it.

Chairman Sir Richard Ibbotson, who is a retired vice admiral who served for 38 years in the Royal Navy, was joined by Captain Sarah Oakley Royal Navy, Captain of Britannia Royal Naval College, to unveil the award in Torbay Hospital on Monday 13 November.

Sir Richard said: “People who have served their country will often have unique and difficult health and care needs. We are proud of our local armed forces family and we want them to know that we are here for them and their families when they need us.

“I am really proud that we have been awarded veterans aware status in recognition of our commitment to ensure that anyone who has served in the armed forces, along with their families, will be treated fairly and will not be disadvantaged because of their service.”

Captain Oakley added: “The Armed Forces’ Covenant and those organisations which sign up to it are very important to all serving and former serving personnel. We are truly grateful to all the NHS staff who go to extraordinary lengths to provide outstanding care and support to the serving and veterans in Devon.”

We have also recently employed Nina Kneil, defence welfare medical service officer who provides invaluable support to people who are likely to have moved around the country during deployments. Nina works closely with our teams to make sure we ask people if they have served, to discuss their needs and identify any additional help they might need.

Nina said: “People who have served have a unique and often difficult role and while most can easily return to civilian life, there is a range of tailored help for people who don’t including mental health support, help with drug and alcohol addiction, making sure they’re registered with a GP, providing emotional support and practical help to enable independent living. I listen to their individual needs, and their families, to provide the help they need”.