Forces Charities

Military Welfare Officer Nominated For Top NHS Award

Jason Stone's work supporting veterans and armed forces has helped many so far.

A welfare officer in Devon has been recognised for his work supporting members of the Armed Forces and veterans who are ill or end up in hospital.

Jason Stone works for the Defence Medical Welfare Service and spends his weeks in and out of the county’s two major hospitals or on home visits providing help in whatever way he can.

He has been shortlisted for the Patient Experience Network National Awards.

"It's something that we're really proud of. We're the only military charity that has been nominated for this award," says Mr Stone.

"As an outside source working within the NHS, I think it's fantastic we've been nominated and shortlisted."

Jason and Graham on the deck at Graham's palce 080319 CREDIT BFBS
Jason Stone on the nomination: "It's something that we're really proud of."

The first stop of the day for Mr Stone on the day of our visit is former Royal Engineer Graham Stewart's home, where he is recovering. 

Last year, Mr Stewart was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease and later on with oesophageal cancer.

It was in hospital that he first met Jason.

"I don't want to start crying at this stage," says Mr Stewart when thinking of the help he has received from Mr Stone and his family.

"They've all been there for me."

Graham Stewart 080319 CREDIT BFBS
Graham Stewart was first diagnosed with an autoimmune disease and later on with oesophageal cancer.

With the help of SSAFA, the welfare service was able to get Mr Stewart a recliner to help his recovery.

"I really tried to identify something that would keep him out of the hospital and made sure that by supporting Mary, she was then able to look after Graham," says Mr Stone.

Next job of the day for Mr Stone is to see if any veterans on the wards at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital may need his support.

Having served in the Army himself, he has that extra connection with his patients.

Jason with a patient at the hospital 080319 CREDIT BFBS
Mr Stone with a patient at the hospital.

For the younger patients on the ward, knowing that there is a member of the team who is able to understand what they are going through is important, explains Michele Richards from the Matron Yealm Ward of the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital:

"Having served in the military himself, [Jason knows] what works for those patients."

The winners of the Patient Experience Network National Awards will be announced later in March.