CASE STUDY: How the RAF FF can help
The issue raised here shares how a serving family member lost her place on the NHS waiting list, because of a posting.
A wife of an RAF Serviceman was living at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire, she 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 and 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 away 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 also been placed at the bottom of the waiting list.
How the RAF FF helped
We liaised with an Armed Forces Commissioning Manager in the NHS and was informed that the initial hospital to which our client had been referred, could complete an interprovider transfer to the new hospital so that her place on the waiting list remained the same.
If, however, our client had been discharged by the initial hospital, then the new GP should follow the guidelines of the Armed Forces Covenant and contact the new hospital and share the appointment letters from the initial hospital. 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.
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.
There are many other ways in which the Families Federation can help you read our case studies online.
This news story is included in the Winter edition of Envoy magazine – the free magazine for RAF personnel and your families too. You can sign up online to have your own copy sent to your home (quarterly).