The well-being of former serving members of the Armed Forces has been at the centre of policy and research for some time. There is evidence from clinical practice and academic research showing that veterans can have difficulties dealing with the impact of their service experience after leaving the forces as well as difficulties moving from military life to civilian life.
The moderate consumption of alcohol for pleasure and relaxation undoubtedly has an important role in our society. The UK armed forces, like many other nations, have traditionally used alcohol as a means of mediating stress although cultural influences are likely to be further contributing factors. Evidence suggests that military personnel consume considerable amounts of alcohol which may have both medical and occupational implications. Studies of UK veterans found excessive alcohol consumption to be more common when compared to the general population (13% v 6%) even after taking age and gender differences into account. Such high levels of drinking are likely to have both short-term and long-term global health effects with a proportion of veterans eventually finding themselves involved in the Criminal Justice System.
From humble beginnings in 1998 to an impressive portfolio of services across Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent, Burton Addiction Centre (BAC) provides evidence-based residential education, treatment and rehabilitation delivered by a multi-skilled, competent and experienced workforce. The twelve–step programme, originally proposed and first published in 1939 by Alcoholics Anonymous(AA) as a method of recovery from alcoholism, underpins the recovery process. BAC has a proven record and has produced some of the highest long-term outcomes across the United Kingdom.
In terms of managing problems of alcohol/substance misuse within the veteran population, whilst treatment services may be aware of veterans amongst their clients, they may not always feel fully competent to both recognise and therefore manage issues arising from previous military service, for example PTSD and poor transitioning.
We are therefore pleased to announce a new joint Care after Combat/Burton Addiction Centre partnership. Commencing in February 2018, this service will provide both residential education and treatment for veterans who have been involved in the criminal justice system.
Dr Jane Jones together with Dr Nicholas Murdoch both of whom have considerable experience with addiction amongst the UK veteran population will provide additional specialist support to the staff at Burton Addiction Centre, thereby augmenting a proven eclectic programme. This partnership is merging the joint expertise acquired from working with addiction over a considerable number of years.
BAC O’Connor are delighted to be working in partnership with Care after Combat; our service personnel and their families sacrifice so much for our country and can be deeply affected by their experiences. We have supported a number of veterans into recovery from alcohol and drug addiction over the years and this partnership will ensure that more people will get the help and support they need. Recovery is possible and together with Care after Combat we can help men and women who have given so much to go on to lead happy fulfilling lives
Noreen Oliver MBE – Burton Addiction Centre.
I have worked in alcohol and substance misuse services for many years and am very much looking forward to working alongside my colleagues at the Burton Addiction Centre. The BAC programme, which has professionally developed over a considerable number of years and from the experience of a diverse group of attendees is enhanced with the provision of tools for self-reliance. Being responsible and making informed choices are central tenets to recovery which is further complemented by the Recovery Academy. I am both thrilled and honoured to contribute to what is a holistic approach to addiction and the recovery pathway.
Dr Nicholas Murdoch – Care after Combat
A collaborative partnership between Care after Combat and the BAC O’Conner Centre provides a breakthrough in quality and service provision for ex-service personnel. By uniting the excellent skills and knowledge Care after Combat and the BAC O’Conner Centre have this partnership offers a unique step forward in Veteran healthcare. This union brings together recognition and help for Veteran specific issues and combines it with the ex-service persons need to integrate with services not military related. This approach enhances the ability of ex-service personnel to make the often-difficult adjustment from military life to civilian life.
The first Veteran to benefit from this partnership said, “for the first time, in a very long time, I look forward to waking up in the morning”. The Care after Combat and BAC O’Conner partnership will provide an important, necessary and strategically valuable service for ex-service personnel who may still be ‘fighting for their lives’.
Dr Jane Jones – Care after Combat/NHS partnership
‘Knowing both organisations well, it gave me enormous pleasure to have instigated this unique venture. We owe a great deal to our veterans, and I am thrilled that this new partnership will go some way to giving those who require it, some much needed help.’
Andrew Griffiths MP – Parliamentary Under-secretary of State Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy
The official launch took place on Tuesday 6th February 2018 at Langan’s Tea Rooms George Street, Burton on Trent. In attendance was Noreen Oliver and Jim Davidson as well as Dr Jones and Dr Murdock plus staff and some patients.