The Patient Experience Team in Cwm Taf University Health Board has been undertaking innovative work with local groups to provide veterans with the help and support they need with regards to access to health care services.
The team has worked hard to build relationships with veterans in the community to identify some of the barriers individuals faced in accessing the services they needed and what could be done to their improve care.
Measures introduced as a result of this joint-working include:
- Quiet rooms within outpatient areas across the Health Board, as many veterans find it difficult to attend medical appointments, particularly if they have to sit in busy and often noisy waiting rooms.
- An identity card scheme to access quiet rooms. Under the scheme, veterans can apply for a card to make NHS staff aware that they suffer with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and that they might require certain provisions to help them with their appointments, including access to a quiet room while they wait.
These initiatives have been really successful and the work of the team was shortlisted at this year’s NHS Wales Awards.
Kath Doughton, Senior Manager for Patient Experience, said: “Working with our Armed Forces Community has enabled us to gauge their experiences of our services, identify areas for improvement and also share good practice.
“By working collaboratively with veterans we have developed a Healthcare Provision for the Armed Forces Strategy and under pining action plan, introduced quiet rooms in our outpatients areas and implemented an ID Card for veterans which identifies that they have PTSD without them having to explain this in a busy outpatient area.
“These are small changes which have made a significant difference to their experience of our service and we will continue to work with and support our Armed Forces Community.”
Paul Bromwell, who served in the Welsh Guards and runs a Veterans’ Support group, said: “What we’ve done is built a rapport and support mechanism and I can pick up the phone to the team and if they can help they will. There’s a lot more understanding of what we’re going through and I think by working together it’s going to make a big difference.”
Watch members of the veterans’ group talk about the difference joint working is making in our video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IXsC085VKzs