Armed Forces Advocate
Our hospital now has an Armed Forces Advocate who is here to provide support to patients who have served and ensure that our hospital is a friendly and welcoming place for staff, patient and visitor veterans and serving personnel.
Chris Blyth, who was born in Great Yarmouth and went to school at Wroughton and Lynn Grove, joined us as our new Armed Forces Advocate in May 2022 after a 23-year career in the British Army.
We’ve introduced the role, which has been created and supported by Veterans UK and NHS Improvement, to help address inequalities faced by some of the armed forces community when accessing NHS services.
In the past many hospitals have highlighted the importance of veteran care but not had a specific role to focus on service personnel support.
In the new role, Chris will work to identify and talk to veterans or serving personnel that come into the hospital to see if there is any additional support that could help them.
He will engage with local communities, support organisations and charities, and aim to enhance staff awareness through training and communication.
The Armed Forces Advocate role will also look at how we can better support veterans both in the community and those who work in the hospital.
This could include assistance from one of the many military charities and organisations, both local and national, that can help with a number of issues, from mental health to housing and support groups.
The Trust has already been accredited by Veterans Aware, awarded Silver by the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme and is signed up to Step into Health, which supports veterans to work in the NHS, however the aim is to improve this further.
Anyone who has served can identify themselves as a veteran and/ or ask to be contacted by our Armed Forces Advocate.
A veteran is anyone that has served at least one day in the armed forces both regular and reservist.
You can help staff by identifying yourself as a veteran when you book in.
As a Veteran you may be entitled to priority treatment if your medical condition is related to your time in service. If you wish to speak to the Armed Forces Advocate about additional support then please let a member of staff know.
You can contact Chris directly by emailing Chris.Blyth@jpaget.nhs.uk
Please see below for further information.
This accreditation was awarded to the James Paget University Hospital in 2021. It shows the Trust supports veterans and promotes their care needs.
You can read more here; Veterans Covenant Healthcare Alliance (VCHA)
This accreditation was awarded to our hospital in 2017 and renewed in 2022. This shows that the Trust supports the employment of Veterans and commits to the following pledges:
- Reviewing recruitment practices and removing any barriers to recruiting members of the Armed Forces community
- Sharing dedicated Step into Health contact details
- Building a relationship with the Career Transition Partnership (CTP)
- Using the Step into Health branding to promote consistent messages about the program
- Using the Step into Health candidate system to record interactions with potential candidates and to refer between NHS organisations as required.
You can find out more here; Step into Health
The Armed Forces Covenant is a promise from the nation that those who serve or have served in the armed forces, and their families, are treated fairly.
The Trust has signed up to this pledge and we also have a Silver Award in the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme.
Our 2017 Defence Employer Recognition Scheme Silver Award was revalidated in 2022.
You can read more about this here; Armed Forces Covenant