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Tireless work to improve the lives of Dorset’s military veterans and serving personnel has earned Andy Gritt an MBE in the New Years’ Honours List.
Andy, who leads Dorset HealthCare’s Armed Forces Community Health and Wellbeing Team, said he was “absolutely amazed and humbled” by the announcement.
And it caps a fantastic year for him, after his team scooped the Excellence in Mental Health Care accolade at the NHS70 Parliamentary Awards this summer.
Andy joined the Trust in 2007 after more than 20 years’ experience in the military, including peacekeeping and humanitarian operations, and quickly set about creating a dedicated service to support the county’s growing armed forces population.
The team provides vital health and welfare support as service personnel and their families make the transition to civilian life, helping them overcome issues around health, homelessness, relationship breakdowns and unemployment.
Andy helped set up a ‘hub’ group which brought together charities and organisations such as the police, probation services and local councils to provide more seamless, targeted support for local veterans.
His efforts were recognised in 2015 when Dorset HealthCare became the only NHS organisation in the south west to earn the Silver Defence Employer Recognition Scheme Award from the Ministry of Defence.
In recent years, Andy’s team has helped develop a local care pathway tailored to both retired and serving personnel, which provided specialist support to 55 people in its first 12 months alone.
And it was the particular success in addressing mental health issues which resulted in local MPs nominating the team for the Parliamentary Awards to mark the 70th anniversary of the NHS, with Andy collecting the honour at the Houses of Parliament in July.
Eugine Yafele, who was recently appointed the Trust’s new Chief Executive, said the honour was very well deserved. “Andy does so much, so selflessly, for our veterans and serving forces community. All of us at Dorset HealthCare are pleased for Andy and proud of him,” he said.
Andy added: “I’m absolutely amazed and humbled to have been awarded this prestigious accolade. It’s not just for me, but for all those alongside me.”