Supporting our armed forces after service

An exciting new welfare support service has been set up in the Avon and Somerset area by the Defence Medical Welfare Service (DMWS) which is targeted towards the over 65 aged veteran’s cohort, their families and care givers who are receiving medical care. It is estimated that approximately 10,500 members of the armed forces community who are in receipt of an Armed Forces Pension lie in this area. Due to this significant high number of personnel the additional support provided by DMWS is strategically well placed and will be a highly sought after service.

The Defence Medical Welfare Service (DMWS) is an independent charity and has been providing medical welfare support to the armed forces since 1943. The launch of the service includes practical and emotional support for the patient and their immediate family when following a medical pathway.

Hospital admissions or a program of treatment can be a stressful and daunting experience. Being a veteran can bring its own set of challenges such as the lack of family nearby or a support network. This can lead to a feeling of isolation, anxiety and stress, all of which can hamper recovery. 

The benefit of providing additional welfare to veterans has now been recognised. That is why DMWS is there to provide support when and where it is required. The service is delivered directly at the point of need and a member of our team is available to see patients, at the Bristol Royal Infirmary, Weston General Hospital, Taunton Musgrove Hospital and Yeovil District Hospital.

Our Welfare Officer Julie Ponton delivers a comprehensive impartial and confidential medical welfare service. Her experience is underpinned by 22 years in the Royal Navy, Level 3 in Welfare Studies, Mental First Aid practitioners and a plethora of health and social care qualifications ensuring patients receive a high level of professional service from DMWS.

Julie said “We are there not only to support patients, their families and care givers but also the Trust’s dedicated and professional staff. “DMWS’s expertise lies in our early intervention and assessment of patient needs outside of the clinical treatment pathway, allowing health care providers to focus on their core work. “Patients will arrive in clinical or medical settings with a range of support needs. We aim to work alongside health care providers and support workers to address the welfare needs identified. This can include: hospital visiting and providing a confidential and impartial ‘listening ear’; identifying issues that may be affecting a patient’s well being such as debt, family breakdown and substance misuse; liaising with and supporting other family members; accompanying families to critical care and specialist units; resolving conflict and managing patient and family expectations and liaison between the workplace, NHS, service providers and the patient

This service is available Monday to Friday 0900 – 1700. Clinical staff, patients and family members can contact Julie Ponton on 07785614836 or email

With the launch of the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal it is hoped that readers are reminded of the services that they are eligible to receive and how they can access such services in their times of need.

Our service also featured in the Weston, Worle & Somerset Mercury news

Published: 14th November, 2016
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