“Due to the institutionalised nature of the military many veterans find the transition into civilian life difficult. It’s our job to help change that.”

Shafiq Sadiq is the Armed Forces Veteran Advocate Support Officer for East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust. Previously, he served for 22 years in the Royal Army Dental Corps as a Medical Practice Manager but now supports veterans who come to ELHT as an inpatient as well as recruiting them to work for the Trust.

He said:

During my time in service, I trained as a medic and a clerk. The army was very good in training people to undertake dual roles so as well as being a Practice Manager I was also qualified as a Medic, a Dental Nurse and in a more combat role I was Chemical, Biological, Radiological & Nuclear Warfare Instructor. 

I was based in many places and was deployed on operational tours to Bosnia, Sierra Leone and Iraq.

Shafiq SadiqMy plan was always to get a job as a Practice Manager in the NHS when I left the army however, my wife was still serving so I spent a further 10 years as the spouse of a serving soldier until we bought a house and settled in East Lancashire in 2019 and I started work with the Intensive Home Support Service at ELHT, a community-based team who provide acute medical care in patients’ homes.

This led to my current role supporting veterans who come to any of the five East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust (ELHT) sites as an inpatient. I work alongside the nurses and doctors providing veterans with any additional support they need, such as financial, housing and so on. I’m also responsible for recruiting veterans to come and work at ELHT. I know first-hand how daunting it can be for veterans to get a job outside the military, but we help to highlight their worth and the transferable skills they have to prove there are possibilities elsewhere.

Since starting this role in April 2022 Fiona Lamb, the Armed Forces Lead, and myself have seen and supported over 1,300 veterans who have been patients at the Trust.

Most veterans aren’t aware of the services and opportunities ELHT offers so it’s crucial we spread the word. The jobs on offer are clinical and non-clinical and include engineering, administration, electrician, maintenance, communications, ward clerk and medical – the list is endless!

When veterans come to ELHT as a patient or member of staff it helps enormously knowing there are other ex-servicemen, like myself, who work here. It gives them reassurance and someone they can relate to.

At ELHT we are proud to support ex-servicemen and women and welcome them with open arms to join the team.