“I wanted to reach out and help the Armed Forces community in any way they needed as I believe they are a community we should be supporting.”

Fiona Lamb is the Clinical Site Manager at ELHT and since 2021 she has been the Armed Forces Veteran Lead. As a team, they help to make a difference to the lives of Veterans – something close to Fiona’s heart. 

She said:

I started as a Health Care Assistant in 1996 whilst undertaking my nurse training and in 2001 worked in the Emergency Department at Burnley General Teaching Hospital before transferring to Blackburn Royal Teaching Hospital.

Fiona LambI’ve always been very proud to work as a nurse but when the role of Armed Forces Veterans Lead came available in 2020, it was one I wanted to pursue alongside my current role. 

Although I never served myself, my father Harold Bradshaw was in the Royal Navy from 1942 to 1950. Dad’s service played an important part of our family. He was very proud of the time he served and shared stories about World War Two and the Battle of the Atlantic. 

When I heard that a veteran patient who’d been receiving treatment at ELHT had sadly taken their own life, I wanted to look at the provisions and care available to the Armed Forces community. 

In my first year I saw 202 veteran patients. We offer individualised support to each veteran and their family and our Trust has one of the highest number of patient veterans seen face-to-face and given a post in the NHS or community. To date myself and my colleague Shafiq Sadiq, a full-time Armed Forces Veterans Advocate, have seen over 1,180 patients.  

The support we offer is wide-ranging and includes anything from organising accommodation for homeless veterans and expediting discharges from wards through to making referrals to Op Courage and the Veterans Trauma Network for those veterans who have found themselves in difficult positions.

We are continually developing the service and feel the journey is just starting.