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Johnny Mercer MP introduced to national Armed Forces healthcare campaign
Johnny Mercer, MP for Plymouth Moor View, recently met with nurses from national charity Mesothelioma UK at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth to find out more about a major campaign aimed at raising awareness of and providing treatment for mesothelioma in the Armed Forces community.
Mesothelioma is an asbestos-related cancer, and national charity, Mesothelioma UK is delivering a national ‘Supporting our Armed Forces’ project to establish a specialist information, advice and support service for Armed Forces veterans and serving personnel affected by mesothelioma.
Johnny Mercer MP served in the British Army for 10 years prior to becoming an MP and, in 2019, was made a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in both the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the Cabinet Office, where he jointly oversees the new Office of Veterans’ Affairs (OVA).
Mercer met with Christine Jones, Mesothelioma UK clinical nurse specialist (CNS) and Anne Moylan, Mesothelioma UK lead nurse for the Armed Forces project, to find out about the impact of mesothelioma in the Plymouth area and to learn more about what the charity’s Supporting our Armed Forces project is doing to support veterans and military personnel with the disease.
Development of the Supporting our Armed Forces service is supported by government funding from fines levied on the banking industry for manipulating the LIBOR rate (the London inter-bank lending rate). As part of the service, an Armed Forces benefits advisor has been employed to help clients navigate the complex system of claiming compensation and accessing benefits – a system that differs from that for civilians. A dedicated Armed Forces clinical nurse specialist has also been appointed.
A comprehensive research programme is nearing completion that will provide a broad insight into the impact of mesothelioma among Armed Forces personnel and veterans. Mesothelioma UK is also collaborating with an increasing number of Armed Forces organisations to pool its resources, and reach those veterans and Armed Forces personnel who need support.
Says Johnny Mercer, ‘It was great to see Chris and the team today. We are working on a flexible compensation package that suits the personal circumstances of veterans with mesothelioma caused by their military service and I look forward to seeing them again in London in due course.’
Anne Moylan from Mesothelioma UK adds: ‘Mesothelioma UK is delighted to raise awareness of our Supporting our Armed Forces project. The service is hugely important, particularly in the areas of Plymouth, Portsmouth and Southampton, given the high incidence of mesothelioma and exposure to asbestos that we’ve seen from patients in the local area, with people employed at the dockyards or based here during Navy service. We hope that meeting Johnny will help to raise the profile of mesothelioma, the dangers of asbestos exposure and the availability of support for those in the Armed Forces and wider communities affected by it.’
About Mesothelioma UK
Mesothelioma UK is a national resource centre dedicated to providing specialist mesothelioma information, support, and improved care and treatment for all UK mesothelioma patients, their carers and health care professionals. The centre promotes the development of specialist mesothelioma nursing practice and funds specialist nursing posts around the UK.
The Mesothelioma UK Charitable Trust is based in Leicester. Its services are free of charge and it relies entirely on donations, legacies, fundraising and sponsorship for financial support.
Main image: Christine Jones, Mesothelioma UK clinical nurse specialist, Johnny Mercer MP and Anne Moylan, Mesothelioma UK lead nurse for the Armed Forces project
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