Michael looks out for veterans

Service veterans and their families in the Borders can nowbenefit from the support of a specialist welfare officer, who is now working with NHS Borders.

By Kevin Janiak
Tuesday, 19th January 2021, 11:48 am
Michael Lowrey, the new DMWS welfare officer at NHS Borders.
Michael Lowrey, the new DMWS welfare officer at NHS Borders.

The local health board, in partnership with the Defence Medical Welfare Service (DMWS), has welcomed Michael Lowrey, a veteran himself, into its ranks.

He will assist in the care and support of the region’s veteran community, providing core support for veterans and their families throughout their physical and mental healthcare pathway.

The DMWS welfare officers act as care navigators and coordinators to continually assess needs, identify solutions, and enable assisted access to a range of services, support and provision, reaching out to those who have served, those still serving and their families at times of need.

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Mr Lowrey has been busy making connections with other local veterans groups, working to best identify how they can come together to assist the veteran community.

He has been inducted as part of the team at the Borders General Hospital, which has enabled him to identify veterans and assist them on their road to recovery.

He said: “When I was medically discharged from the forces in 2007 it was a big change to my way of life and I had difficulty adapting back into a civilian lifestyle.

“This was partially because I didn’t know what services and support were available within my local community.

“Therefore, I am determined to continue assisting other veterans, no matter what age they are, to access the services that they vitally need, but may not know they are eligible for.

“I help by acting as a bridge so that the medical professionals can better understand veterans who are patients.

“This can enable more effective treatment which helps these patients to be discharged in a timely manner with the confidence that they are ready to go home because there are extensive support networks in place.”

Examples of Michael’s work include making sure patients have transport to and from their appointments; the delivery of food parcels and provisions to patients homes prior to their discharge; as well as providing a confidential, impartial and non-judgmental listening service.

The new Armed Forces Personnel and Veterans Champion and Director of Workforce at NHS Borders, Andy Carter, said: “There is a large veteran community living in the Borders and the addition of the DMWS welfare officer position has been an amazing opportunity to expand the support we offer our veterans and current members of the armed forces as well as their families.”

If you or someone you know is a veteran, serving or a family member who could benefit from welfare support, you can contact DMWS at [email protected] or telephone 0800 999 3697.