As the county marked a very different Remembrance Day, Sunderland GP practices have taken a further step in their commitment to support those who have worked in the armed forces, and their families.
Representatives from each of the 40 GP practices joined a special Zoom call to each sign the Armed Forces Covenant. Signing of the covenant signals the practice’s commitment to help ensure that people who are serving, or who have previously served, in the armed forces are treated fairly and get the help that they need, when they need it.
Dr Ian Pattison, Executive GP and Clinical Chair of NHS Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), and GP at the Southland Medical Centre in Ryhope said:
“Health and community services in Sunderland have been committed to supporting those who have served in the armed forces, veterans and their families for many years . The signing of this covenant signals Sunderland’s GPs absolute commitment to ensuring that those who have served, including their families, have the right access to services to help support their health and wellbeing needs.”
David Eccles, Assistant Regional Employment Engagement Director for the North of England Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association, said: “Sunderland as a whole has an amazing track record of supporting people working in the armed forces, veterans and their families. To have the further support of all GP practices in Sunderland creates a much stronger gateway into health services for those we are trying to help.”
“I wish to pass my thanks on to Sunderland CCG for helping make this happen and in particular Gloria Middleton, their Armed Forces Lead, who works tirelessly on behalf of veterans across the city.”
All GP practices in Sunderland have a dedicated Armed Forces Champion who ensure that their practice continuously works to support the armed forces community and that the practice signposts them to the most appropriate support when needed. Patients can find out more about this but contacting their GP practice.
Last year, Sunderland CCG gained the prestigious Gold Award in the Armed Forces Covenant Employer Recognition Scheme, the highest award that can be achieved through the scheme.