A GP Practice has become the first in Tameside to sign the Armed Forces Covenant pledging to support ex-service personnel.
Ashton Medical Group has made the commitment to ensure that ex-Armed Forces personnel can receive the help and care that they need.
Tameside Armed Services Community (TASC) and the Strategic Commission has been raising awareness of the Covenant as well as asking GP Practice’s to ensure that they have coded which of their patients are ex-service personnel so they’re able to meet their health needs.
The Covenant, signed by the ten local authorities in Greater Manchester, including Tameside Council, and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), is a commitment to our Armed Forces Community that they receive the levels of support they need. It sets out standards that ex-service personnel can expect around housing, employment and health as they make their transition back into our communities. It also includes commitments such as creating pathways that seek to end ex-service personnel living on the streets by 2020, to help them gain employment and skills and linking existing data systems to aid service delivery.
The Brooke Surgery in Hyde has also now signed up to the Covenant with two more practices – Millgate Healthcare Partnership and Denton Medical Practice – in the process of signing up.
Evidence shows that ex-service personnel, who may face additional challenges when they return to civilian life, are not always aware of the dedicated health services available to them.
But following TASC and the Strategic Commission’s campaign, GP Practices have already been successful in coding ex-service personnel with Denton Medical Practice coding 99 patients as ex-service personnel compared to just eight previously and Albion Medical Practice coding 47 ex-service personnel compared to 25 previously.
Being coded as ex-service personnel in medical notes helps to ensure that ex-Armed Forces personnel are able to access specific ex-service personnel’s health services and receive any priority treatment that they may be entitled to.
Ashton Medical Group Practice Manager Joanne Causer said: “We’re proud to be the first GP Practice in Tameside to sign the Armed Forces Covenant and are committed to providing ex-service personnel with a high quality health service.
“It’s important that ex-service personnel are clearly identified on their medical record to help ensure they receive care and treatment that is considerate of their time in the Armed Forces.”
Tameside Council Executive Leader Councillor Brenda Warrington said: “Ex-service personnel often have unique health needs, and these important schemes are a great way of ensuring that when they visit their GP these needs are flagged up, considered and accommodated.
“I’d urge every GP Practice to follow Ashton Medical Group’s lead in signing up to the Armed Forces Covenant.”
If you’re interested in your practice signing the Armed Forces Covenant please contact Covenant@tameside.gov.uk. To join TASC please visit www.tamesideasc.org.uk and fill out the online form.
(IMG 3326): Ashton Medical Group Practice Manager Joanne Causer signs up to the Armed Forces Covenant with help from Tameside Council’s Armed Forces Welfare Officer David Brown.