Former Lieutenant Commander speaks passionately about DMWS support


Dr Matthew Kiernan, a former Royal Navy Lieutenant Commander, is passionate about helping ex-servicemen and women. He was medically retired on health grounds and is now an Associate Professor Mental Health and Veterans Studies, and leads the Northern Hub for Military Veterans and Families’ Research at Northumbria University in Newcastle. In his current role he is developing a Map of Need and an app that will make it easier for veterans to find information about the health and social care services available to them. Paul Gaffney, CEO of the Defence Medical Welfare Service (DMWS) met with Matthew at the charity’s headquarter yesterday, to discuss current veteran and military family research projects.

DMWS has been providing an independent medical welfare service to the Armed Forces for 75 years and is continually exploring new ways to support this community. Matthew has first-hand experience of the service DMWS provides to frontline staff when they are physically or mentally ill. He has worked side-by-side with DMWS Welfare Officers in his role as the Senior Nursing Officer for Mental Health in the Royal Navy and says: “On deployment DMWS played an important part to ensure welfare issues are dealt with right from the beginning before they develop into a Mental Health Illness.”

When Matthew fell seriously ill in 2010 he found himself receiving the charity’s support. During his long hospital stay a DMWS Welfare Officer visited him every day and provided practical and emotional support ranging from providing a wash kit after emergency admission to showing compassion to him and his family. His wife Vicky said: “The Welfare Officer was great, she really understood what we were going though. She would sometimes look after our son when I needed to speak to my husband alone.”

Matthew and Vicky spoke about their experience with DMWS and the full video can be viewed here:

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23 April 2018

Notes to editors

For immediate Release

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About St John and Red Cross Defence Medical Welfare Service (DMWS)

The St John and Red Cross Defence Medical Welfare Service (DMWS) has been providing a person-centred medical welfare service to the Armed Forces Community since 1943. In that time we have supported over 1,000 000 patients and their families, ensuring that no one goes through the worry of injury and illness alone. Our highly trained welfare officers provide practical and emotional support to those receiving medical treatment. Recent new projects with organisations such as the police, the NHS and the probation service demonstrates the broad appeal of the organisation and its application to a wide set of frontline services. We are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

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