Veterans and families are the focus of special county visit

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UNDERSTANDING the needs of veterans and their families was the subject of a special fact-finding visit this week.

A group of representatives from West Sussex County Council visited the Queen Alexandra Hospital home for disabled ex-service personnel.

The Worthing-based national charity can take up to 60 residents at any one time and is the only hospital home south of London which provides facilities specifically for veterans.

Many of its residents, the oldest of whom is 101 and the youngest 25, have suffered loss of limbs, suffer neurological disorders or illnesses such as cancer and heart disease.

It has gained a national reputation for treating ex-service personnel with acquired brain injuries.

The visit, which took place on Tuesday, comes as the county council undertakes work in examining the needs of veterans in the county, and families and children of serving personnel based at Thorney Island near Emsworth.

Councillor Peter Catchpole, county cabinet member for adults’ services, who was heading the visit, said he wanted to see the facilities and residents, to help gain an idea of future needs.

“We owe our veterans a debt of gratitude for their service,” he said. “Some of them will have suffered horrific injuries and we need to ensure that we have the relevant services joined-up and offering the help and support they need to give them the best quality of life that their injuries and disabilities allow.

“We must not forget the families. While the visit is to gain an understanding of veterans’ needs, we must also remember their families will need help as well, which is why we are also undertaking a needs assessment of families and children of serving personnel at Thorney Island.”

Queen Alexandra Hospital provides nursing care, speech therapy end-of-life care, physiotherapy, and occupational therapy.