Defence Personnel with Significant Illness (DPSI) Project
My name is Mandy Islam and I am a serving member of the British Army with a terminal cancer. My journey began in May 2015 when diagnosed with a rare condition called Myeloma. Since, I have undergone treatment requiring 10 months of sick leave, returning to work in March 2016, on a Gradual Return to Work (GRoW) and subsequent full time employment. I am currently back in chemotherapy but manage this, and the consequences of treatment, within my role.
The process of my journey was not smooth which prompted the genesis of the Defence Personnel with Significant Illness (DPSI) project. This is a bespoke project that will examine how Defence leads, manages and supports Service Personnel and Civil Service affected by significant illness (chronic conditions that cannot be cured but can be managed through medication and/or therapy). This considers a broad range of medical conditions such as diabetes, cancer and arthritis, multiple sclerosis, mental health, heart disease. The aim is to deliver policy, processes and tools to support an individual and equitable approach to the rehabilitation, recovery, reintegration or transition (R3T) pathway. In doing so, look to secure the best outcome for the patient group (patient, carer, chain of command or management), reduce the number that may otherwise have left service without this support, or where necessary ensure that personnel are transitioned out of the Service in the best way possible.
I invite you to be part of this work as a member of the expert patient group to assist in shaping the future or simply touch base to know that there are others in Defence with shared experience and similar conditions.