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UK MoD - Government pays tribute to 'inspirational' work of Defence Nurses

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: 14 March, 2008  (Company News)
The UK Ministry of Defence and the General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) will tonight heap praise on military and civilian nurses who work on the front line in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Addressing over 150 defence nurses at the RCN Headquarters, Defence Minister Derek Twigg will applaud their life-saving work and their remarkable professionalism.

Under Secretary of State for Defence, Derek Twigg, said:

'I have met Defence nurses in Iraq and Afghanistan and seen at first hand the work being done by these inspirational men and women. Our nurses are an impressive group. We are lucky to have such a special group of individuals, and I know that our defence nurses are highly valued and much appreciated by personnel throughout the Armed Forces. Thanks to their efforts, lives are saved on a daily basis.'

The reception is the brain-child of Dr Peter Carter, the RCN's General Secretary, after a visit to Iraq in July last year. The event will celebrate the bravery, heroism and dedication of the country's defence nurses and the valuable contribution they make to military personnel deployed on operations.

Dr Carter said:

'A lot is asked of the Armed Forces and understandably their medical care is a high priority. I was extremely impressed by the world class standard of nursing care that I saw on my trip to Basra last year. Our members are working in some of the most difficult and complex situations that I have ever come across and I wanted to go and understand for myself the challenges that they face.

'What impressed me most,' said Dr Carter, 'was the immense bravery of both the troops and the health care professionals who are working alongside them. It is not until you see it for yourself that you can really acknowledge the difficult and traumatic situations that people are dealing with at all times and I applaud the respect and dignity which they show in their work.

'The quality of health care that I witnessed was second to none and relatives of serving forces can be assured that their loved ones would receive the best attention should they unfortunately become ill or injured. I was especially impressed by the caring and supportive leadership and teamwork and the efficient systems and procedures that have been set up to deal with acute injuries.'

Strong partnerships with NHS Trusts across the country equip defence nurses with the very best training, expertise and experience.

Health Minister Ann Keen said:

'Defence nurses put their lives on the line to save the lives of others. As a former nurse myself, I find their courage and professionalism on overseas operations remarkable. Of course there is a long history of nurses caring for wounded soldiers. You just have to think back to the Crimean War when Florence Nightingale, Mary Seacole and many more nurses worked so bravely in horrific conditions.

'But I think it is also important to recognise the invaluable contribution defence nurses make to the NHS. When not supporting our military, they are using their expertise to care for patients in hospitals up and down the country and passing on their unique skills to civilian nurses. Whether in peacetime or in war, the work of defence nurses is truly inspirational.'

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