Today (Mon 21 Feb) the Naval, Army and RAF Families Federations launch the ‘Duty and Care: Armed Forces Family Mobility and Health Care’ report. This report provides practical recommendations to inform and tackle disadvantage as well as improve health outcomes for families required to move frequently due to Service need.
This study, supported by NHS England and NHS Improvement and the MOD Families Team, was conducted by the Veterans and Families Institute for Military Social Research at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), and sponsored by the three Families Federations. Families have shared their experiences to form the basis of this research and as the Foreword says, “Their voices are the most important ones here”.
The recommendations were co-created by key stakeholders to identify the clearest possible lines of responsibility and accountability.
Top line recommendations are:
- Gaining confidence of families – that the Service will support them, but the Service needs to be kept informed about any health factors that might affect postings
- Building on existing frameworks – to support postings – ensuring that information is captured effectively
- Encourage families to identify current and potential needs to primary care
- Expand the education and training of all NHS staff to understand the needs of mobile military families
- Provide more information to military families on the variable nature of the NHS, particularly when moving across devolved national borders
- Improving transfer of information – the transfer of health care records between primary care organisations
- Continuity of care, using remote access
- Creating single points of contact for Armed Forces families to seek advice
- Dentistry – look for ways to support Service families seeking dental care
Access the report
You can watch the online news story on BFBS Forces News
Scroll to point 7 min 20 secs:
Minister for Defence People and Veterans, Leo Docherty says:
“As a former soldier, I know only too well that families are the backbone of our Armed Forces. But unlike Serving personnel, they haven’t chosen this career, so it is even more important we give them the support they need. One of the greatest challenges faced by military families is access to quality health care.
“That’s why I very much welcome the practical recommendations set out in Anglia Ruskin University’s excellent report published today.
“Anglia Ruskin University and the Families Federations have played their part… Now it is our turn. Our upcoming Families Strategy will work hand-in-glove with the NHS, care providers, MOD, single Services and the Families Federations to translate this advice into action.”
RAF Families Federation Director, Maria Lyle says:
“On behalf of all three Families Federations, I want to thank the many families who have shared their issues and challenges with us over the years. This puts us in the position of being able to advocate for change on their behalf. We are looking forward to working with all the organisations named in this report to embed the much-needed changes outlined here.”
Forces in Mind Trust Professor of Veterans and Families Studies, Michael Almond says:
“Through interviews with military families and those with responsibility for providing, commissioning and advising on health care for military families we were able to deliver this report which provides practical and operational recommendations for policy and practice, directed at care providers, the NHS, MOD, and families themselves, to tackle disadvantage and improve health outcomes for those families required to move frequently as a result of Service need.”
RAF Service person, Rob talks on behalf of his family:
“As a Serving person in the Royal Air Force who has a wife and child with complex health care needs, I am reassured by the introduction of the Duty and Care: Armed Forces Family Mobility and Health Care report.
“The recommendations detailed within reassure me that the concerns outlined by Service families are being addressed. From my perspective, assignments based around the family’s needs will go a long way to addressing parity of care. Having experienced complications on postings with continuity of medical care, having a system which factors in my family’s health and social care needs will go a long way in allowing me to focus on my career, knowing my family is supported.
“Improvements in the transfer of information within secondary care will alleviate the need for primary referrals. As an example, my wife was under the pain management team at my previous posting. Upon moving, this care was unable to be transferred, meaning a new referral needed to be done to continue treatment, ultimately causing long delays.
“I look forward to seeing these changes being implemented, as they are a positive step in supporting military families.”
The RAF Chief of Staff Personnel and Air Secretary, Air Vice-Marshal Maria Byford says:
“I warmly welcome this valuable analysis of the challenges faced by military families in moving home frequently and gaining timely access to health care. I was pleased to see the research gave families a voice and listened to their lived experiences. Thanks to their considered, thoughtful and insightful responses, we can put families’ experiences at the heart of our policies.
“As a Serving partner and parent myself, the findings resonate strongly with me and I can reinforce the RAF’s commitment to implement the recommendations wherever possible. As ever, good communications are key, and I encourage everyone to ensure that their career managers are aware of their family’s health care needs. This information will be considered carefully when the next assignment is being planned and it is not career limiting.
“I am acutely aware that the lived experience for families can be challenging and remind everyone that a range of allies are available to help us, including the RAF Families Federation, our Station HIVEs and the SSAFA Social Workers on our stations. This research provides some valuable insight into some of the areas where they can help all of us.”
You can watch her response through this short 1.44 min video clip:
If you experience issues or concerns regarding your family’s health care you can contact your Families Federation where their Subject Matter Experts can be on hand to help: