How Innovations are bringing people closer together – in war and in ward

Ex-RAF staff at Oxford Health are still helping to bring families together

How Innovations are bringing people closer together – in war and in ward

Carol Duncombe, Service Manager Community Hospitals served in the RAF and was stationed in Bosnia with Air Medical Evacuation responsibilities.

In her RAF role, Carol had a direct telephone line available through the Ministry of Defence in Whitehall. She would help put fathers of new-borns, directly in touch with their wives in the UK.

Fast forward to 2020 and the current lockdown and Carol is still helping connect patients in Community wards with their loved ones virtually with iPads and Tablets.

This innovative solution was rapidly developed by the Oxford Health IM&T team, called Virtual Visits.

When in Bosnia, Carol had to leave her daughter aged 3. She reflected: “It was a very worrying time for families and it was important to know they were in safe hands.”

“I remember watching a video with service colleagues of my daughters birthday party. We were all in bits!”

She added: “Since our lockdown restrictions, the opportunity for patients to do Facetime with loved ones has been an enormous help to families. It has connected people that cannot be together. We even helped a gentleman make a call to her son in Australia.”

Leanne Cain-James, also ex-RAF, works with Carol as Locality Portfolio Administrator for Community Hospitals. A month ago, Leanne shared her story of how she helped to co-ordinate the trust response to the pandemic.

At Oxford Health, one of our values is that we aspire to be excellent and innovative in all we do. Leanne has seen such compassion and dedication by staff throughout this crisis, which aligns with these core values.

Leanne said: “I am very proud that ex-service personnel are doing their bit for the NHS.”

To find out about job opportunities at Oxford Health contact Diane Woodward, Armed Forces Champion, by emailing

For information about joining other NHS Trusts you can visit the Military Step into Health here:

Image used in story is ©UK MOD Crown Copyright 2020

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Published: 23 June 2020