A Nottinghamshire service supporting veterans has been shortlisted in the prestigious HSJ Awards in the Military and Civilian Health Partnership Award category.
The HSJ Awards continue to be the most esteemed accolade of healthcare service excellence in the UK. They shine a light on the outstanding efforts and achievements teams across the sector have delivered.
Veteran Care Through Custody (VCTC) is an exceptional Nottinghamshire collaboration between the Offender Health team at Nottinghamshire Healthcare and the Newark-based veterans’ charity Care after Combat. With a focus on delivering life-changing and life-saving support to ex-Armed Forces personnel in the justice system.
Dr Jane Jones, Clinical Lead, Nottinghamshire Healthcare said:
The Veteran Care through Custody team are truly honoured to have their work recognised in the HSJ Awards. The service addresses the specialist needs of veterans in prison and honours the commitments enshrined in the Armed Forces Covenant. The service works in collaboration with veterans in custody and their families to provide care to veterans in Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire prisons equal to services provided in the community, whilst at the same time addressing the additional complexities of offending behaviour.
Through partnership working, healthcare assessment and intervention, training, and involvement of Care after Combat mentorship, our service has helped veterans regain their wellbeing, pride and commitment to society.
Adrian Kirk, Chief Executive Officer, Care after Combat said:
We are really proud to see our work with Notts Healthcare shortlisted and recognised in the HSJ Awards. Since forming in 2019 VCTC has helped 493 veterans get their lives back on track. A combination of veteran specific clinical interventions from Notts Healthcare together with the wrap-around support of staff and volunteers from Care after Combat has seen incredible results in terms of health and wellbeing outcomes for some of our nation’s most vulnerable veterans.
Veterans are not natural help seekers. Especially those who have offended and feel that they have let their service and their country down. By engaging regularly and as early as possible within prisons, VCTC is able to build trusted relationships with veterans that enable real progress and lasting change to be made.
Becky Sutton, Chief Operating Officer at Nottinghamshire Healthcare said:
We are extremely proud of everyone involved to see this incredibly important service recognised nationally. The service is a truly outstanding collaboration that has transformed the lives of almost 500 veterans in the Nottinghamshire and wider East Midlands region and they really deserve this recognition.
“It is demonstrating fantastic results, with those having received support from the team being approximately five times less likely to reoffend.
“Huge congratulations to everyone involved and the best of luck for the ceremony.
Veterans in the justice system frequently have complex and multiple physical and mental health needs, often attributable to their service in defending the nation. Working together with prison healthcare teams and other prison and probation staff, VCTC helps each veteran address their individual needs, and prepare as fully as possible for their release from prison and reintegration back into the community. This includes thinking about aspects such as family, accommodation, finance, employment, and ongoing support needs, making critical preparations in good time before leaving custody. Care after Combat mentors stay with veterans on their journey as they transition through the gates back into ‘civvy life’; a handrail should the veteran need it.
Harry, who has been supported by the service said:
When I came to prison, I was morally, emotionally, and physically broken. Throughout my sentence, Veteran Care Through Custody have supported me in ways I never thought possible. The support and guidance they provide is second to none, every step of the way they have enabled me to come to terms with and deal with my issues.
Mark commented on the support he has received:
I am now living a crime free life and will not go back to prison. Peter was with me at every step and helped me to deal with every challenge I faced, both in prison and when released, I could not have done it without his support.
The Military and Civilian Health Partnership Award provides a unique opportunity to celebrate excellence in healthcare and health improvement for the Armed Forces community (as defined in the Armed Forces Covenant), and the importance of working in partnership with several stakeholders including the Defence Medical Services; the NHS; the Department of Health and Social Care; and the independent and voluntary sectors.
The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on 16 November.