Trust celebrates national award win for Op COURAGE service

Posted: 03/05/24

Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW) celebrates win at the national Positive Practice in Mental Health Awards.

Veteran mental health and wellbeing service Op COURAGE was awarded the Provider Collaborative Specialist Services Award for its work with veterans.

CNTW is the lead provider for Op COURAGE, working in partnership with Pennine Care NHS FT, Leeds and York Partnership NHS FT, Humber Teaching NHS FT, Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS FT, Walking With The Wounded and Combat Stress.

The service, which was established in April 2023, provides specialist care and support for those due to leave the armed forces, reservists and those who have already left. It is developed by veterans, for veterans.

The Positive Practice in Mental Health (PPiMH) Awards, now in their 10th year, celebrate the significant contribution individuals and organisations make to mental health support and services across the UK.

This year’s ceremony took place at the Cliffs Pavilion in Southend-On-Sea on Wednesday 1 May, bringing together colleagues from NHS Trusts, charities and service user groups from across the country.

Victoria Malone, Associate Director at CNTW, said: “The success of the service is in its equity. It’s made up of five NHS Trusts and two charities but there is no differentiation between them, they are all equal. This one-service approach is what makes us special.”

On winning the award, Dr Paul Perry, consultant clinical psychologist and clinical lead for Op COURAGE North, said: “We’re really proud and it’s great to have recognition for the work the team have done. We’ve gone through considerable complex change which has been a challenge, but this makes it all worth it.

“For me, winning the award makes me think what’s next? It’s great to be recognised for what we have built but the task is now to focus on quality and making sure what we deliver is effective.”

Jon Milford, service lead for Op COURAGE North said: “We wouldn’t have put ourselves forward for an award if we didn’t believe in the service. This award reflects the confidence we have in our clinicians and teams.”

Paul and Jon attended the event along with colleagues from the North East team, Leeds and York Partnership NHS FT, Pennine Care NHS FT and Walking With The Wounded.

Andy Airey, Place Director at CNTW and Chair of the Op COURAGE Partnership Board, said: “On behalf of the partnership board, we would like to congratulate the service on their award which nationally recognises their innovation and commitment to veteran mental health services.

“We would also like to thank everyone involved in Op COURAGE for their continued hard work and dedication.”

Victoria added: “The award is about the people in the service and the strong partnerships. It shows the team’s pride and their work to make veterans’ lives better. What shines through is their passion, their work is more than just coming into an office. They’re a unique bunch of people and this award celebrates that.”

CNTW has introduced a number of initiatives to ensure the armed forces get the support they need.

CNTW is a Veteran Aware Trust, recognising its commitment to improving NHS care for veterans, reservists, members of the armed forces and their families.

The Trust has also signed the Armed Forces Covenant, which is about fair treatment, removing disadvantage and ensuring veterans get the same access to services.

PPiMH is a collaborative group of 75 organisations, including NHS Trusts, charities and service user groups. The group aims to promote and improve mental health services by identifying and promoting positive practice, working together to encourage shared learning and to raise the profile of mental health.