Trust nurse in charge of NHS service for military veterans shortlisted for top Armed Forces award

August 15, 2019

The nurse in charge of an NHS service for military veterans in East Anglia has been shortlisted for one of the Armed Forces’ most prestigious awards.

David Powell, regional lead of the Transition, Intervention and Liaison Service (TILS), run by Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust, is in the running to win role model of the year at the English Veterans Awards.

The ex-lance corporal, who served in the Royal Green Jackets and Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME), was nominated for the work he did with an ex-client of TILS, which helps ex-service personnel with mental health problems.

He was also nominated for helping raise more than £10,000 for the Army Benevolent Fund (ABF) by leading a team of Trust staff and former clients through a 54-mile, day-long yomp across Scotland during each of the past three years.

David, who is based at The Lakes mental health unit on the site of Colchester General Hospital, will find out if he has won the trophy during a ceremony at Mercure Holland House in Bristol on 25 September.

Although too modest to believe he will win, the 55-year-old admits to feeling “proud” to have a chance of winning an honour which is only open to ex-military personnel.

“It’s incredibly humbling and does bring a lump to my throat,” he said.

“It also looks very good for the Trust because it shows we are doing the right thing by our veterans. They have, after all, given everything for us.”

David, who has worked for EPUT for 20 years and is now a clinical lead nurse specialist, was also nominated in the community veteran of the year category.

Andy Brogan, the Trust’s Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Chief Executive, said: “I am delighted that David has been recognised for the excellent work he has done for our former military personnel over many years.

“He deserves to be honoured for leading an outstanding Trust service which gives veterans the vital support they need to rebuild lives shattered by the devastating effects of serious trauma.”

In his work for TILS, David helps ex-servicemen and women who have either been discharged from the Armed Forces with mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, or who encounter these problems later in life.

His team reintegrates its clients into Civvy Street, helps them get therapy for trauma, and works with veterans’ organisations including the ABF and Royal British Legion.

David’s regional TILS team has helped more than 1,300 people in the past two years.

In his spare time, the married father of two has put his military experience to good use by guiding Trust staff and former patients through the Cateran Yomp, a long-distance march in the foothills of the Cairngorm Mountains, in Scotland, in aid of the ABF.

He continues to use his expertise by serving as a sergeant in the Army Cadet Force and running a detachment in Felixstowe.