Wigan surgeries sign up to be veteran-friendly in time for VE Day anniversary

A GP practice manager has successfully spearheaded a campaign to ensure all his company’s surgeries in Wigan borough are up to the mark in giving the best healthcare possible to military personnel and veterans ahead of the VE Day anniversary.

By Charles Graham
Tuesday, 5th May 2020, 8:31 am
Simon Carr (left) with Coun Watson
Simon Carr (left) with Coun Watson

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.

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Mr Carr spent 25 years in the armed services

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.”

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