Armed Forces Champions Resource

Katie Nicholas, Health Education England, working across the North West

[email protected]

Who asked?

A colleague based in the Education Commissioning and Transformation team, who has a remit around the Armed Forces, approached us to help with a resource she wanted to develop. The North West Armed Forces Champions Network meet regularly and is made up of staff  from NHS organisations and trusts across the region who, alongside their full time roles, are the first point of contact for HEE for Veterans and Reservists Forces in that organisation.

Their role is to work with HEE and employers to support Reservists in the organisation, investigate with colleagues how Veterans can be employed within the organisation, promote the nationally developed eLearning package to raise awareness, share information, ensure Veterans and their families are not disadvantaged in their treatment, and be role models, providing a ’listening ear’ for colleagues in their organisation.

What did they say?

Our colleague, and the Network, wanted a bank of resources to support the Champions and encourage each other to collaborate virtually, share resources and knowledge.  Each organisation had materials they thought it would be useful to share with the Network across the region and they wanted a kind of one-stop-shop where all these materials could be hosted as well somewhere they could look for information to signpost colleagues to.

What did you do?

The Knowledge Management team created a suite of resources to support the Network and designed a place they could share materials they developed locally.

We created a suite of resources that Champions could download and use in their organisation as part of their role. We designed three leaflets that could be displayed in organisations and two flyers – one for members of staff and one for patient information. The idea was that these resources would help Champions explain their role to their peers and senior managers and be useful tools to help them deliver their role.

Leaflets and Flyers:

  • A Leaflet for GP staff explaining the eLearning available to all staff, the importance of asking patients if they, or their families, have served and recording information using the correct Read Codes.
  • A Leaflet for NHS staff explaining the role of the Armed Forces Champion in their Trust or organisation, signposting staff to places they can learn more about caring for families of military personnel and Veterans, and Veterans themselves.
  • A Leaflet for Senior NHS Managers explaining the role of the Armed Forces Champion in their Trust or organisation, detail on the Employer Recognition Scheme and encouraging them to think about how their organisation can better support current and ex-Armed Forces personnel
  • A Flyer for Reservists designed to provide information for members of staff who are either currently Reservists or would like to become Reservists
  • A Flyer for Veterans designed to provide information for Veterans, their families or carers, outlining the important benefits of telling a health professional you served

The network provided feedback on, and contributed to the development of, the Leaflets and Flyers.

Evidence Summaries:

A number of Evidence Summaries were created on key themes including stats, facts and figures that Champions may want to use in reports or with commissioners.

  • Education
  • Employment
  • Finance
  • Health
  • Mental Health
  • Housing
  • Homelessness
  • Social inclusion and welfare

Resource Directory:

The team created a Sway, an interactive reporting tool that can be embedded into webpages. The Sway is a directory of organisations that Champions can use to signpost patients and colleagues to useful information. The organisations are grouped using the themes from the Evidence Summaries and the network was encouraged to share knowledge and contribute to the creation of the directory.


The KM team created a webpage within HEE’s website, to host these resources and be a one-stop-shop for the network

How did it help?

The resources and webpage are useful, free resources that will help the Champions better deliver their support role and work more collaboratively to share the information they have. The Summaries will encourage Champions to utilise the evidence-base to make their case for the Armed Forces in their services and the directory is a signposting tool that Champions can direct peers, and patients, too. The project supported the following Knowledge Management goals:

  • Connecting people to people  –  supporting the Network and encouraging the sharing of knowledge and learning
  • Connecting people to the evidence base  – showcasing the evidence through thematic summaries, and encouraging the use of these resources
  • Sharing learning – facilitating sharing of knowledge and resources and providing an accessible repository to store this learning


April 2017