Veterans Service in the running for coveted national award

The Veterans Orthopaedic Service, which is based at RJAH, has been named as a finalist in the Soldiering On Awards.

Pictured from left are members of the clinical team helping to deliver the veterans' service: Lt Col Carl Meyer, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon); Rebecca Warren, Ward Manager on the Midland Centre for Spinal Injuries and a Staff Sergeant with 202 (Midlands) Field Hospital; Mr Christos Oikonomou, Speciality Doctor in Veterans Arthroplasty; Dr James Neil, Consultant Anaesthetist
Pictured from left are members of the clinical team helping to deliver the veterans’ service: Lt Col Carl Meyer, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon); Rebecca Warren, Ward Manager on the Midland Centre for Spinal Injuries and a Staff Sergeant with 202 (Midlands) Field Hospital; Mr Christos Oikonomou, Speciality Doctor in Veterans Arthroplasty; Dr James Neil, Consultant Anaesthetist

The Soldiering On Awards are highly coveted in the Armed Forces community. They recognise inspirational individuals and teams, who highlight the outstanding achievements of current and former service personnel and their families, as well as those who care for and support them.

The Veterans Orthopaedic Service, led by Lieutenant Colonel Carl Meyer, a Consultant Military Orthopaedic Surgeon, has been named as a finalist in the Healthcare and Rehabilitation Award category, after being nominated by Tom Bennett-Britton for the high standard of care provided to his father-in-law, Major Igor Obrastsoff-Rutinsky, a former Paratrooper.

Mr Bennett-Britton said: “I know of the Veterans Orthopaedic Service, as my father-in-law was treated by Lt Col Carl Meyer and his team earlier this year. The service that he received was truly first-class.

“The team were able to gain his trust so that he was happy to proceed with a knee replacement, and it has proved to be a great success. It has transformed his mobility and provided with him with a renewed lease of life.

“Igor is one of thousands of veterans that this service has now helped.

“As part of this service, the hospital has recently launched a £1.5 million fundraising campaign to build the UK’s first dedicated Veterans’ Orthopaedic Centre, and I believe the service winning a Soldiering On Award would provide due recognition to the fabulous work it does, where they truly transform the lives of our veterans.”

The NHS-led service is open to those who have served with the UK military, including National Service, and treats arthritic lower limb problems, especially those requiring hip and knee replacements.

Lt Col Carl Meyer said he feels “thrilled” that the service is in the running for a national award.

He said: “I’m thrilled that our Veterans Orthopaedic Service has been nominated for a prestigious Soldiering On Award. This is wonderful recognition for the work that we do here at RJAH in caring for servicemen and women, who have left the Forces.

“Provision for those who have left the services has been lacking, which is why providing specialist orthopaedic care to our veterans and serving military personnel is something I’m extremely passionate about.

“There aren’t many professions where going to work places you at risk of dying or being severely injured. I feel this level of commitment requires recognition.”

All of the finalists will be invited to a special private reception at the House of Lords on 13 February, hosted by Lord Dannatt and attended by Awards Patron, the Rt Hon Earl Howe PC and a number of special guests, ahead of the winners being announced at a prestigious black tie event at the Westminster Park Plaza on 5 April.

General the Lord Richard Dannatt, Awards President and head of the judging panel, said: “The 2019 Soldiering On Awards finalists represent the wonderful work of the Armed Forces and all that they stand for.

“The Awards recognise those who have gone above and beyond what was required, time and again, an ethos learned for many of our finalists in the service of their country. Those who support the military community not only benefit them, but our wider society too.

“As Chair of the Judging Panel this was the most difficult year to date, due to a doubling in the number of nominations and the high calibre of all the nominees. Each and every one of these finalists is deserving of their recognition and we look forward to celebrating their journey with them when the winners are announced in April.”