Simon Carr, who spent 25 years in the Army before working in healthcare, led the drive to have all SSP Health’s practices accredited as Veteran-Friendly in time for the 75th anniversary celebrations on Friday.
The main requirements for the scheme, run by the Royal College of General Practice, is that each surgery should have all veterans flagged on its patient list and to have a clinical lead that has served in the military or has had appropriate training.
Simon, who lives in Atherton and is practice manager at Poplar Street Surgery, in Tyldesley, joined the Army aged 16, serving in the Royal Artillery for 25 years and rising to the rank of Warrant Officer. He worked in Artillery Command and Control and Trials and Development, completing operational tours of duty in Iraq, Cyprus, Bosnia and Kosovo. Simon is also an active member of the Atherton Branch of the Royal British Legion.
His own GP practice was one of the first to sign up to the accreditation scheme and he believes there are clear benefits for both surgeries and patients who served in the military.
Simon said: “Having this accreditation shows to patients and staff that we have a clear commitment to people who have committed to us. It shows we can identify and get the right treatment for struggling veterans or serving service personnel.
“Service personnel are used to being in a team and will readily identify with accredited practices as being part of that team and their ethos.
“The 75th anniversary of VE day is one of the last big anniversaries that anyone that had served will be able to take part in, so it was really important to ensure that we achieved accreditation across all our practices to show our support in both health and social needs to our current military communities.”
All SSP Health GP practices across Wigan and Leigh have signed up to the scheme. Simon has also ensured all 35 of SSP Health’s practice sites across the North “West are accredited in time for the Bank Holiday anniversary.
Atherton councillor James Paul Watson, who served in the Irish Guards and is vice-chairman of the Royal British Legion’s Atherton branch, said: “I am delighted with the progress that Simon has made in promoting the NHS’s Veteran Friendly Service. Not only has Simon ensured that his own surgeries were one of the first to take up this initiative last year, but he has since promoted this throughout the wider SSP group within the North West.
“This has been no small feat, especially when considering that he set himself 100 days to achieve this; before the 75th Anniversary of VE Day and throughout the COVID-19 crisis.
“I would personally like to thank Simon and all the SSP practice managers for their hard work and dedication in this unprecedented time and I am certain that this will be well received from our large veterans community that reside in the North West.”
A message from the Editorial Director, Gillian Parkinson:
Thank you for reading this story on our website.
But I also have an urgent plea to make of you.
In order for us to continue to provide high quality local news on this free-to-read site and in print, please purchase a copy of our newspaper as well.
With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on our town centres and many of our valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you buying a copy when you pop out for your essential shop or subscribing for delivery.
Our journalists are highly trained by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards anywhere in the world. Our content is universally trusted - as all independent research proves.
As Baroness Barran said in a House of Lords debate this week on the importance of journalists: "Not only are they a trusted source of facts, but they will have a role to play in rallying communities and getting the message across about how we can keep ourselves and our families safe, and protect our NHS. Undoubtedly, they have a critical role."
But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis. In return we will continue to forensically cover the local news - not only the impact of the virus but all the positive and uplifting news happening in these dark days.
We thank all our readers and advertisers for their understanding and support - and we wish YOU all the best in the coming weeks. Keep safe, and follow the Government advice. Thank you.
HOW TO SUBSCRIBE: You can subscribe for delivery by contacting us at [email protected] or calling us on 0330 4033004 for details of a participating newsagent near you.