Tuesday 17th December 2019
How the RAF Families Federation (RAFFF) helped a RAF family member who was disadvantaged by their partners new posting, losing her place on the NHS waiting list for treatment.
NHS waiting list issue
The wife of a RAF Serviceman was living at RAF Scampton, in Lincolnshire, had a medical issue that had lasted over a two year period. She was eventually referred to a dermatologist for testing in May.
While awaiting an appointment date, her husband was posted to RAF Northwood, in Hertfordshire, so they relocated. In June, she received a dermatologist appointment at a hospital in Doncaster which is close to where she had lived previously. Consequently she was unable to make the appointment due to the distance from her new home.
The lady asked her new GP to refer her to a hospital nearer to her new home. However, she then received a letter with an appointment for the following April which was 10 months away. She had been placed at the bottom of the waiting list.
How the RAF FF provided support
We liaised with an Armed Forces Commissioning Manager in the NHS and was informed the initial hospital could complete an inter-provider transfer to a more local hospital, so that her place on the waiting list wasn’t affected. Or, if our client had been discharged by the initial hospital, the GP should follow the guidelines of the Armed Forces Covenant and contact the newly appointed hospital and share the appointment letters. The GP should request that the client retains her place on the waiting list as per the Armed Forces Covenant; she should not go to the bottom of the waiting list.
The Armed Forces Covenant in action
With new knowledge of the Covenant, it enabled our client to re-approach her GP with the correct information and ensure that she was not disadvantaged due to her husband’s posting and their subsequent relocation.
This case highlights the impact that the RAF FF can have by liaising with points of contacts within agencies such as the NHS in this case. Not every case ends up with success, but we are always able to explain the reason a decision has not been made in favour of the serviceman or woman, or their family members. If an emerging theme of disadvantage arises, we are able to lobby government for policy changes.
We provide confidential help and support to RAF personnel and families, wherever you are in the world. This can be advice offered, imparting our knowledge of policy and procedures, signposting and influencing on your behalf.
The issues you report to us provide ‘evidence’ which can help us to identify emerging issues in the Armed Forces community. We use this information, anonymised, to lobby government for policy changes – aiming to make life better for you.