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MusculoskeletalOct 24, 2023

Northern Ireland pilot scheme will recruit staff members to tackle veterans' musculoskeletal issues

Veterans living in Northern Ireland will be offered advice on musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions and be linked up with local services under a pilot scheme announced by the Office for Veterans’ Affairs last week (20 October).

The development is part of a £500,000 18-month pilot scheme that aims to improve veterans’ health and wellbeing, with funding coming from the UK Government as part of the Health Innovation Fund. It will be led by the Defence Medical Welfare Service (DMWS), an independent charity that will recruit new members of staff to run the service across Northern Ireland.

As well as advising on MSK problems, pain management and lifestyle issues, staff will also offer support on anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorders and bereavement. 

Photo Credit: Office for Veterans’ Affairs
The scheme is part of a bid to make UK the 'best place in the world to be a veteran'

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UK to be a 'world leader'

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Johnny Mercer said: ‘If we’re going to make the UK the best place in the world to be a veteran, we need to make sure that veterans can access the support they need in all four corners of the UK.’

The pilot will shine a light on the health needs of veterans in Northern Ireland, and data will be gathered in a bid to ensure any unmet needs are identified and addressed. 

If we’re going to make the UK the best place in the world to be a veteran, we need to make sure that veterans can access the support they need in all four corners of the UK [Johnny Mercer]

Paul Gaffney, DMWS chief executive of the Defence Medical Welfare Service, said: ‘This independent project will support both the physical and mental health needs of veterans taking account of their specialist requirements.'

Mr Gaffney added: ‘DMWS work collaboratively with existing statutory and third sector provision to build improved health and wellbeing outcomes for veteran

What does DMWS do?

  • the charity supports all serving personnel, reservists and their dependent relatives
  • its professional service supports the veteran community when they are receiving medical treatment
  • it provides specialist welfare provision to members of the Police Federation in England and Wales
  • it supports people who are, or have been, in The Merchant Navy and their immediate families
Author: Ian A McMillan
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