' I got in touch when I saw soldiers I had last seen on the operating table in Bastion or at Headley Court wearing sharp clothes and looking the world in the eye. I thought a quiet catch up over a beer would be good. I felt the work we had started as the medical team in those dark days was being completed by Style for Soldiers. We helped keep them alive, Style for Soldiers helped give them back their lives." - Shehan Hettiaratchy
The Veterans Trauma Network has been set up within the NHS specialising in bomb blast injuries, prosthetics and associated medical conditions and operating from ten established NHS Trauma Centres across the UK to help young injured veterans transition into the civilian world and offer life long support. This is the brainchild of Richard Swarbrick National Lead Armed Forces & MOD Healthy Transition NHS England, and extraordinary surgeon Shehan Hettiaratchy who joins Style for Soldiers as a new and greatly valued Ambassador this month. Shehan is a trauma and reconstructive surgeon who has served in the British Army since he was 18 as a regular and reservist. He was deployed to Afghanistan in 2009 and 2010-11 as a surgeon and saved many lives in Helmand. Shehan is the clinical lead for the Veterans Trauma Network, the first NHS pathway for veteran physical care.
Richard and Shehan wanted sustainable veteran care with the NHS, which did not depend on charities, and approached Style for Soldiers for their extensive database of over 750 injured service personnel and to arrange a meeting for them to talk to young veterans and hear about their recent experiences post medical discharge from the military and entering the NHS system. This was arranged and was very informative and VTN launches last year.
A larger national VTN meeting including veterans and medical specialists is scheduled for June (2018). Style for Soldiers' only employee Victoria Mead will be giving her time on behalf of the charity in support of VTN, to record the experiences of veterans and guide anyone on our extensive database through the referral process.
We would like to welcome Shehan as our new Style for Soldiers Ambassador, who could not be amore valuable addition.
The image Shehan saw of the Style for Soldiers Christmas Party 2013, which inspired him to contact us.
Style for Soldiers Ambassadors Shehan Hettiaratchy and Matt Weston, whom Shehan operated on many times.