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Is the Vetnet and Op Code Red the answer?

This is a post from Conrad Goss from Veterans for Change and something he is campaigning for, he joined in on one of our Veteran Voices and admitted he had never heard of the Vetnet before. Where possible i will write my answers and add any links that already exist.

#TIMEFORCHANGE Apologies for this being a long post but I hope it begins to identify some of the Groups objectives and invoke contributions from as many members as possible.

As you all know I have been campaigning for several years as an advocate for change to a dysfunctional system and by and large a non-existent structure of #Welfare, #Health & #Care for #military #veterans #service #leavers & #serving military #personnel.

I had made many proposals in a SAP Strategic Action Plan to implement many sections within a framework that would finally give full support to All Service Leavers and Veterans as well as their Families, especially those Wounded In Service.

Answer - The Vetnet has been in place for 5 years, it gives direct links to the nearest support within any county, all listed under easy to find headers. direct links to phone numbers when needed for immediate support.

The last year has seen me having discussions with #Army #Generals and other senior #Officers in the #RAF & #Navy as well as correspondence with #politicians such as Johnny Mercer. It has been proactive but disappointing.

The establishment is entrenched in an unwillingness for real change, a belief that nothing can be changed because apparently ‘if you change things for the military, you would have to change things for the #police, #firebrigade and #NHS with the excuse being that they all do the same kind of work as the #armedforces Bloody ridiculous!

The ‘old boy’ networks are rife, the arguments ill conceived, the reasoning nonsensical, and the BS stinks more than 50 year old Cheddar in a Parmesan bottom

Part of the new framework I proposed includes the following, in no particular order and in brief detail only. Some, but barely little currently exists in the functional format needed:-

Answer - For the last 5 years we have been pushing this and any veterans that have seen it think its a bloody fantastic idea and wish they knew about it earlier, some have been case workers from SSAFA, NHS workers, Police Forces etc but once it reaches the top table we never hear back, so this always bring me to think that I'm the only one that can see a solution that nobody else can.

1. VWS Veterans Welfare Service - to incorporate many branches under its wings and be the first port of a new registration system for all current service leavers and veterans. It would receive the Military Medical Records (VMR Veterans Medical Records) of each individual on transition to Civvi street and distribute copies to their local GP and NHS Trust. It would have overall responsibility for each individual within the framework/Family Tree. All Veterans NHS numbers should be suffixed with the letter ‘V’ to denote ‘Veteran’ and identify the unique nature/needs of the patient.

Answer - With the recent release of Op Code Red, which aim is to setup a Crisis Team within every County of the UK, once this is fully operational the VWS would be staffed by combining the already existing support networks all under one roof and communicating on one platform, not only would it work for the support networks but you now have a place where veterans have immediate support when needed.

2. VOR Veterans Official Register and/or VNR Veterans National Register, deliberately so named to coincide with the Military acronym ‘Vehicle Off Road’. The idea being to keep a track on the Veteran as so many have gone off the rails, falling off radar, and who could have been saved and helped from a period of misery.

It would help to ensure the Veteran is also kept up to date with everything available to them, something so currently lacking.

There is little or no passage of information direct to Veterans!

Answer- The Vetnet comes with a free App that supports all the social media groups, part of those groups are the CSCSA Network, which aim is for any serving personnel, Veterans and Family members plus members of the Civilian population who live in the county area to join their nearest group, you now have instant beacons for any alerts such as not heard from joe Bloggs can someone check on him. As part of the CSCSA the Aim is to have one central network of trusted organisations that work together in order to get those that ask the support they need in the shortest possible time. Having a VOR is a must for contact details and should be easily accessible to trusted members of the CSCSA.

3. VHS Veterans Health Service - now all individuals are uniquely identified with the suffix ‘V’, specialist Mental Health Units & Trauma Units can be set up within the existing NHS system specialising in the treatment of Military patients! Yes there are new and existing facilities such as Op Courage available however, they are limited, often rely on self-referral or referral and some only available through Charities.

If delivery of VMH Veterans Mental Health care is to be through Charities then these Charities need to be provided with a Guaranteed Government Funding Covenant to ensure the delivery of these specialist services are future proof!

Answer- Again Op Code Red, we have already had talks with various NHS Trusts about implementing this system into their own networks with further talks to come

4. VPH Veterans Physical Health would again work on a similar basis with the integration of current physical trauma units throughout the UK and accessibility increased to prevent such ridiculous waiting times that Military personnel and Veterans endure. Government is quick enough to send us into Battle so it should be just as quick to treat those who suffer injury as a result and that treatment should be unreserved for Life!

A dog is for life not just for Christmas however, many of you know that many recent conflicts saw us on deployment on Ops over Christmas and the #government were all so keen on licking our butts at that time but as soon as it was over, we were dishonourably dumped and treated worse than a dog!!

Answer- Op Code Red again by utilizing the already existing support and expanding teams.

5. VFS Veterans Family Service should be made available for Spouse & Children to help them cope with loss & injury and Regional Centres should be incorporated in the above services to make accessibility simple and combined with visits of injured personnel.

Answer - Imagine the likes of SSAFA, RBL, DWPS, WAR WIDOWS, BLESMA ETC all knowing and using the Vetnet, working together under one roof under the title VFS

6. VMR Veterans Medical Records - See 1 above and note that all Veterans should be issued a copy of their Military Medical Records on Discharge also. Discharge medicals are currently a sham and deliberately do not reflect the real physical & mental health situation of the service leaver. This must change and all symptoms and conditions noted and the service leaver referred immediately to the VHS through the VWS. No veteran should be left to self-refer. All of this can be monitored via the VTO Veterans Transition Officer at the VTH Veterans Transition Hub local to the new service leaver.

Answer - This is something that could be introduced to the NHS

5. VAC Veterans Annual Checkup - so often we see Military personnel discharged from service to quick and/or with no apparent problems physically and mentally however, over a period of time their health deteriorates as a result of military service but they are off the radar, suffer in silence, improvise but don’t overcome and eventually it’s too late or they’ve taken their own life. The VWS would ensure Annual Checkups to help monitor the Veterans health and identify any issues. These would be a ‘proactive’ service that would save the Government £Millions as prevention is better than cure.

It would also save Families so much pain and trauma also.

The VWS would be responsible for maintaining the VOR Veterans Official Register or VNR Veterans National Register.

Answer - in my honest opinion its all well and good having so many support networks out there but how many hand on heart know exactly where or who to sign post someone to when needed? Most of the cries for Help ive ever seen have come from FB and most are bombarded with the usual well known Charites, very rarely with no links or phone numbers which only adds to the stress of the veteran asking trying to find these, if they do get through, 90% of them only operate office hours. If the Veteran community were made aware of the Vetnet and how both Op Code Red and the CSCSA work hand in hand with each other then surly this has to accomplish this aim.

6. VTS Veterans Transition Service - all new service leavers would be registered with the VTS and appointed a VTO Veterans Transition Officer who would be located in one of many local VTH Veterans Transition Hub throughout the UK.

The VTS would insure the new service leaver is fully aware of every aspect of civilian life, which, to some extent they have been sheltered from for many years.

The VTS would also begin to contact or military veterans who are on the newly formed VOR/ VNR. This will ensure they help and support that thousands of veterans need right now begins to happen and is implemented as soon as possible.

This will help with so many current problems that veterans have and that new service leavers experience and would include simple things such as food, clothing, housing, transport, employment, health, relationships, finance, prosthetics, specialist care, legal matters et cetera, and all things to do with life.

Answer - For me the perfect solution for this would be to utilise all the already existing Veteran Champions from all the existing networks such as Council Champions, NHS Champions DWP Champions etc, they would work again under one roof and communicating with the necessary support needed within each county of Op Code Red

7. VTH Veterans Transition Hub, this would be so easy to incorporate within the many Royal British Legion clubs throughout the UK. As one of the largest military charities in the UK, that also receives the largest support from the MOD, it would make sense to utilise and expand this role within the RBL.

Answer - How many walk in Hubs already exist doing this already? using the Vetnet incorporating a new link to the VTH easily achievable if they were aware of the Vetnet and how it worked.

8. VTO Veterans Transition Officer, could be located in the Veterans Transition Hub to provide the money services as mentioned above in the Veterans Transition Service. They could be a serving senior rank under officer similar in some respects to the military recruitment officers that we have in the UK.

Answer - Utilizing the Veteran Champions again.

9. VLO Veterans Liaison Officer could also be appointed and located in the same or similar premises as the Veterans Transition Officer though this role would be entirely separate to the VTO. The VLO would, in fact work with a veteran and the new service leaver to deal with communications between the veteran and the MOD/government.

Answer - In theory this would be eliminated if the CSCSA was 100% up and running

10. VPS Veterans Pension Service could also be located in the VTH offices of the RBL and deal solely with the War Pensions & Medical Discharges of Veterans. This should be kept entirely separate.

Answer - Good idea as i know a lot of Veterans have contacted us asking if we could or did we know another way of getting help with War pensions as they are banging their heads against the wall.

11. VPO Veterans Pension Officer would be the person within the VPS and located at the VTH but would work separately to the VLO & VTO. They would however be able to cross-refer and information share to ensure no information is missed and full safe-guarding is in place; this is something so lacking at present also.

Answer - A good Proposal and agree much needed, something that could be used or set up using the Veteran Champions, there would be a lot of restructuring needed but surly all working under one roof and on one platform it would be achievable

12. VLS Veterans Legal Service, once again this could be centrally located within the Veterans Transition Hub locally originally throughout the UK and would deal with all things legal that are currently so difficult to access by service leavers and Veterans. The VLS could be self funding in that or current military personnel contribute £1 per month from their wages into the VLS Fund. This fund would be out of reach from the MOD/government and the government would be expected to contribute to this fund also. It goes without saying that all of the above would come under the umbrella/family tree of the new revamped/reorganised/restructured, VWS Veterans Welfare Service! This is not an exhaustive list rather, just a snippet of the overall vision for full support of all current and future, military service leavers and all Veterans. What it should do however is ensure the majority of issues that Veterans & service leavers face are encapsulated in this proposed framework/structure. Yes, after years of campaigning we finally saw The ‘OVA’ formed in 2019 which is part of the Cabinet Office. It alleges to work across government and with private sector organisations, charities and other public sector organisations to support and deliver services to veterans. In January 2022, the OVA produced the Veterans' Strategy Action Plan. This document outlined how the Government will continue to make sure that the UK becomes the best country in the world to be a veteran, through 60 targeted actions that it aims to deliver by 2024. Following my many letters of previous years to former Governments and my recent email of 10 January 2023 to the Rt Hon Johnny Mercer MP, regarding my vision for improved current & future Veterans care the Minister asked his officials from the Office for Veterans' Affairs (OVA) to respond on his behalf and of the OVA. In response to some of my proposals the OVA wrote - ‘Regarding your suggestion of the veterans health service, we hope that you will be pleased to hear that NHS England have developed the Veterans Trauma Network (VTN). Veterans can access all NHS services, but the VTN provides specialist care and treatment to veterans who have physical health problems as a result of their time in the armed forces. It also works closely with other organisations such as military charities, taking a holistic approach to each veteran and their family. We are also continuing to increase the number of accredited 'Veteran Friendly GP Surgeries', currently over 1600, and we are also looking to expand the number of Veterans Aware Trusts, of which there are currently over 130. Both these programmes look to embed awareness of what makes veterans unique as a cohort and provide improved care and support. We have also launched OpCOURAGE, a service available to all veterans in England which can be accessed via a self-referral. It combines the previous provisions of the Veterans' Mental Health Transition, Intervention and Liaison Service, Complex Treatment Service and High Intensity Service to create another single pathway to ensure the best provision to support veterans' mental health. This can also be accessed via the VTN, ensuring that physical and mental health services are working in tandem. Regarding your point on the identification of veterans, the Government has previously promised all veterans an ID card. From December 2018 onwards, service leavers were given veterans "recognition" cards through Phase 1 of the roll-out with a promise to also deliver such cards to pre-2018 armed forces leavers in Phase 2. On legal support, all members of the Armed Forces community, including veterans, should expect to be provided with legal support at public expense where they face criminal or civil allegations that relate to actions taken during their employment or service, and where they were performing their duties. However, this does not extend to private legal issues. For these, services such as the Veterans' Gateway’. I found this latest response flimsy and of no significant improvement for Veterans. Most of us continue to suffer whilst we see £ MILLIONS being spent on illegal immigrants and hotel accommodation to foreigners coming to sponge off the British Taxpayer..US OPERATION ‘VETERANS FOR CHANGE’ - VFC I’ve listened to so many Veterans over 30 years and virtually nothing has changed in this time for so many and nothing can be effected because in the main Veterans are not listened to individually or in small groups. Please don’t miss understand me, there are approximately 1864 military charities doing great work, but there’s a reason why these amazing charities exist; the MOD/Government has failed Military personnel, Veterans & Military Families, including their Children, for over 100 years, so yes, it’s Time For Change. The only way Veterans, Service Personnel & Service Leavers & Military Families can effect real meaningful lasting change is to join forces and act as the biggest Team and Force the MOD/ Government has ever seen. There are 1,822,611 Veterans in the UK and approximately 6 Million combined Veterans, Serving Military & Military Families as a Group. This is a significant ’VOTING’ group that any #british #government cannot ignore. ‘Strength in Numbers’ I have started this new Facebook group called ‘Veterans For Change’ (VFC) to help bring together a strong force, pool resources, engage with other groups, collate information and petition and lobby Government with the proposals to effect real change, many of which are already drawn up. This is a Team/Group effort, not about one individual rather, it’s about everyone in the Military Family past, present & future affected by Military service & the need for substantial improvements immediately. Too many Military personnel, Veterans & Family members have suffered and have died post-military service; I’m sure we all know someone and have comrades who have taken their own lives needlessly. This is one objective of this Group to help prevent further sad losses outside of Operations. Many will have heard me mention many Initialisms/Acronyms in the past referring to the improvements/overhaul required to the current so called Veterans Welfare Service VWS and the introduction/formation/addition of new services and a new more productive framework and structure for the welfare & support of Military service leavers, Wounded In Service and Veterans PLUS their Families. Yes there are certain things in place however, they are limited, disjointed, poorly managed, certainly poorly advertised, and in the main provided through a limited number of charities. This must change now and come direct from the MOD/Whitehall/Government as standard without exception and without the dependence on charities whose funds are forever shrinking. Charities rely on the Taxpayer….US, yet we have already paid into the Government coffers for years only to see it whittled away on contentious political spin and bad governance including £10 Million + a day on illegal immigration; this is your money they’re spending I/We seek each others support and for the numbers in the Group to reach 10,000+ ASAP and therefore we must ALL do our bit to promote this Group which, when we have the numbers, will be able to ‘lobby’ and ‘petition’ Government to bring about real effective change for all Veterans and their Families and secure real services and support for All future military service leavers! You ALL have the chance now to join as one mighty UNIT and Stand Together as a real Band Of Brothers (All Genders please) and Make A Difference! I believe this will also help honour those fallen who made the ultimate sacrifice and those who took their own lives; we owe it to them too THESE ARE OUR HASHTAGS IN UPPERCASE! #TIMEFORCHANGE #VETERANSFORCHANGE Conrad

Answer - Hopefully ive answered a few questions for you and shown how the things we are both trying to achieve can be done, its going to take time but i strongly believe it can be done with the right people working on it, there are some things that need setting up still and others things that can be either improved or creases ironed out. The draw back is, as an individual organisation without any funding and a working platform built on a minor self funded budget, trying to raise awareness is very hard but as a community shouting together I'm sure our voices would be heard from far away.

Here's a couple of links I looked at before writing this

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