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Wellbeing

In vitro fertilisation (IVF) is one of several techniques available to help people with fertility problems have a baby.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has published fertility guidelines that make recommendations about who should have access to IVF treatment on the NHS in England and Wales.

If you are considering IVF, you may want to have a look at the links as they provide a lot of useful information:

The policies regarding NHS funding for Assisted Conception procedures vary across the UK. More information on the policies in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland can be found below.

 

England 

NHS trusts across England and Wales are working to provide the same levels of service. But the provision of IVF treatment varies across the country, and often depends on local CCG policies. In some cases, only 1 cycle of IVF may be routinely offered, instead of the 3 recommended by NICE. Find out more here.

Please note that there is a specific policy in place for members of the Armed Forces who wish to consider IVF treatment which only applies in England. More information can be found here.

 

Scotland 

Eligible patients who are new referrals from 1st April 2017 may be offered up to three cycles of IVF/ICSI. Find out more here.

 

Wales 

In November 2009 the Minister for Health & Social Care announced that patients who meet the access criteria, where the woman is aged less than 40, will be entitled to two NHS cycles of treatment. In 2013, in view of the NICE Guidance update for fertility services, the all Wales expert advisory group made recommendations that fertility services should be available up to a woman’s 43rd Birthday. Find out more here.

 

Northern Ireland 

In Northern Ireland the Health and Social Care Board (HSC) are responsible for commissioning of fertility services. A motion calling for the HSC to provide three full cycles of treatment has been approved in principle, but in reality additional finance needs to be made available to make this happen, even in a phased approach. Find out more here.

 

Posted on: 17th May, 2016

SSAFA Adoption Service is an independent adoption agency. Registered with OFSTED, the Scottish Care Commission and the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (Northern Ireland), they are one of a network of professional not for profit specialists, who work independently across local authority boundaries to provide consistent high quality support for adopters in the military and their adopted children. They help to create families fulfilling lives together. They are there for anyone serving who wishes to create a family through adoption.

SSAFA understand the particular challenges that serving families face during the adoption process.

Regular postings and deployments can make it difficult for serving personnel to adopt through local authorities but by offering a nationwide service SSAFA is able to support families through the entire process no matter where they move and no matter how long it takes.

Their dedicated staff work tirelessly to help ensure that serving personnel have the same opportunity to be assessed as adoptive parents as anyone else. They are always looking for people who can offer children a loving and supportive family for life.

SSAFA staff work with Armed Forces employers to ensure housing and educational needs are met and they also offer a wide range of extra support to adoptive families including practical help and assistance from local volunteers on the ground, and a dedicated post-adoption Social Worker who adopters can speak to at any stage in their post-placement journey.

More information about the SSAFA Adoption Service can be found here.

 

Have you considered fostering but you’re not sure whether you are able to if you live in Service provided accommodation?

The Joint Service Publication which sets out the policy for Service accommodation states that: ‘All Service personnel (including personnel who are single) who are active foster carers are entitled to Service Family Accommodation (SFA) or SFA above entitlement, where required, akin to personnel with natural or adopted children. Within the UK, approval as a foster carer and active (or forthcoming) fostering should be confirmed by means of a letter from the relevant Local Authority stipulating the geographical area (as this impacts on whether foster carer status carries over after being posted to a new location) and duration of approved foster carer status’. For further information, please click here.

 

Further information about Fostering

Recently awarded ‘Outstanding’ in all areas by Ofsted. The National Fostering Agency has been finding loving foster parents to improve children’s lives for decades. Find out more here.

 

Posted on: 17th May, 2016

Mental Health

Everyone has mental health as well as physical health, and these aspects of health are often related. All of us will experience challenges at some point in our lives that affect our emotional, social and psychological wellbeing. These difficulties may be temporary or part of a longer-term mental health condition. Help is available:

Accessing NHS Services

To find out about NHS services in your area, contact your GP (for both adults and children), or search the NHS website for adult self-referral services through your local Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT).

Combat Stress

The ex-Services Mental Welfare Society, Combat Stress, is the only Services charity specialising in helping those of all ranks from the Armed Forces and the Merchant Navy suffering from psychological disability as a result of their Service. You can visit their website here.

If you’re currently serving, or have served in the UK Armed Forces, you can call the Combat Stress 24-hour Helpline to talk about mental health. If you are a family member or carer worried about a loved one or need to talk to someone yourself, you can use it too.

The Helpline is open all day, every day, offering support and advice. This is a free and confidential service. Combat Stress are there for you if you are having a tough time, have trouble sleeping, have flashbacks, get depressed, get anxious sometimes or just feel that something is not quite right.

Call 0800 138 1619 / Text 07537 404 719 / E-mail helpline@combatstress.org.uk.

Contact

Contact is a group of charities working with the NHS and MOD. They want to make it simpler for the military community to find support for their mental wellbeing. Find out more here.

 

Defence People Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) is required to maintain the health and wellbeing of its people primarily to ‘deliver and support military effect’. This ensures its people can deploy on operations and remain fully employed in their day to day role. For Service Personnel, the MOD must also meet the commitment of the Armed Forces Covenant, ensuring that Armed Forces personnel and their families are not disadvantaged within wider society, either during their time in the Service or in their lives beyond the military.

The Defence People Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy aims to improve the mental health and wellbeing of our Armed Forces, their families, veterans, and civilians. It builds on five years of health and wellbeing research and activity to establish the integration of mental and physical health. It is focused on promoting positive mental health and wellbeing; preventing and detecting mental health illness; and treating such illness when it is diagnosed.

You can read the document in full here.

 

Emotional first aid for children

Emotional first aid for children runs training courses for teachers supporting children. Costs £300 per person – the same as Service Pupil Premium (SPP) for one child in a school in England.

 

Heads Together

Heads Together was launched to change the national conversation on mental health and tackle the stigma that prevents people from getting help, alongside developing a series of new mental health initiatives.

Help for Heroes Hidden Wounds

Hidden Wounds supports thousands of men and women and their families from the Armed Forces.

 

Mind

The mental health charity, who offer advice and run support groups for those affected by mental health problems. To find your nearest MIND, please visit their website.

NHS Veterans’ Mental Health Transition, Intervention and Liaison Service (TILS)

If you are due to leave the Naval Service, the TILS will work with the MOD to offer you mental health support through your transition period and beyond. The TILS provides a range of treatment and can help with housing, employment, alcohol misuse and social support. Find out more in this booklet here.

 

Overseas

Service families living overseas may register with the Service’s Medical Centre to receive routine and emergency health care. Personnel should speak with their UPO for guidance on registering.

Project Regain

Regain is an initiative masterminded by a serving Royal Marines Captain, which aims to improve mental health awareness and reduce stigma. This initiative will help Royal Marines access treatments at the start of an issue, which can reduce the treatment timelines.

 

Royal Navy Family & People Support (RN FPS)

If you have any problems regarding well-being, please remember that RN FPS are here to support you, staffed by Service people and civilians from a variety of specialisations and offers advice, counselling and advocacy on a wide variety of issues, including mental health issues.

 

See, Hear, Respond

The See, Hear, Respond Partnership is a service funded by the Department for Education. With your help, the See, Hear, Respond Partnership will quickly identify and support children, young people and families who are struggling to cope with the impacts of coronavirus.

 

Suicide prevention and peer support in the armed forces: A pocket guide by the Samaritans

The guide, jointly launched by Samaritans and the Ministry of Defence, gives advice on how to identify signs that someone may be having difficulties, suggests ways of offering support and gives information on where help can be found. You can access it here.

The Black Dog Institute

The Black Dog Institute is an Australia-based not-for-profit organisation and world leader in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mood disorders such as depression and bipolar disorder.  Information and superb resources for teachers and those working with young people, including Headstrong 2.0 which can be downloaded free of charge.

The Recovery Pathway

This leaflet provides a guide to recovery for all wounded, injured and sick Naval Service personnel and their families. It details each stage of the recovery progress, looks at temporary employability during the Recovery Pathway, and lists the contact details for numerous support organisations.

 

Togetherall (Formerly Big White Wall)

Togetherall is an online early intervention service for people in psychological distress. It combines social networking principles with a choice of clinically informed interventions to improve mental wellbeing. It can be accessed 24/7 and has staff who ensure the full engagement, safety and anonymity of all members.

Togetherall is a community of people who are experiencing common mental health problems who are supported to self-manage their own mental health. According to members, one of the most important elements of the service is the ability to talk freely, whilst remaining completely anonymous.

Togetherall has won multiple awards for its services, and its LiveTherapy service is CQC registered. It is free to join for Regular and Reserve members of the Armed Forces and their family members.

 

Young Minds

Young Minds are leading the national charity for children and young people’s mental health. They have a helpline for parents and lots of useful information on their website.

Posted on: 6th May, 2016
Updated on: 3rd November, 2020

NHS Dentists

It can be difficult for serving families to access NHS dentistry in some areas. Here are links to help you to locate a dentist in your area:

 

If you find that you are encountering problems gaining access to an NHS dentist, or continuing with a course of treatment, such as orthodontic care, when you are assigned and these problems are directly attributable to you being part of a serving Armed Forces family, please contact us via contactus@nff.org.uk or call 023 9265 4374.

 

The Community Dental Services provide treatment for people who may not otherwise seek or receive dental care, such as people with learning disabilities, housebound people, and people with mental or physical health problems or other disabling conditions which prevent them from visiting a family dentist.

 

For information on NHS dental charges or other issues relating to dental care, you can visit the British Health Foundation. Their free and impartial advice centre is open between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.

 

NHS Orthodontic Transfer Information
Armed Forces entitlement

The Armed Forces Covenant is a “promise from the nation that those who serve or have served, and their families, are treated fairly”. Due to the transient nature of their role, the Armed Forces and their families should retain their relative position on any NHS waiting list if moved around the UK due to the Service Personnel being assigned.

 

General Information

The following sections are for use when patients request an orthodontic case transfer either within the UK or from abroad. It is recognised that patients receive the best treatment outcome by completing their treatment under the care of one orthodontist. NHS Orthodontic treatment can take between 18 months to over 2 years. The average length of time of treatment is 21 months.

Orthodontists with existing NHS contracts in England can accept a patient who has moved from another part of the country (or from overseas) who is already waiting for or undergoing NHS orthodontic treatment. Most orthodontists operate two waiting lists; one for assessment and one for treatment. The assessment appointment will determine NHS eligibility e.g. whether a patient can be treated under the NHS and prioritise clinical need.

 

Transfers within the UK

Q: What if I am on a waiting list for orthodontic treatment and I move home within the UK?

A: If a patient moves and needs to change orthodontists, the current orthodontist should discuss alternative orthodontic providers with the patient and arrange a direct referral to the preferred provider. As Armed Forces and their families should retain their relative position on the waiting list, the referring orthodontist should provide the date of the patient’s acceptance on their list to the new provider to ensure their relative position is retained.

 

Q: What if I am receiving orthodontic treatment and I move home within the UK?

A: A patient should remain with their current orthodontist, if at all possible. If the patient requests a transfer, the treating orthodontist should discuss alternative orthodontic providers with the patient and arrange a direct referral to the preferred provider to continue treatment.

 

Transfers from Abroad

Where a patient begins treatment abroad (not just EEA) and returns to the UK and is entitled to NHS care, NHS criteria is applicable and not the criteria from the country where they began treatment.  The patient should have been under 18 at the point of referral, have had an Index of Treatment Need (IOTN) of at least 3.6 and have good oral health. Patients can find information on who currently provides dental and orthodontic treatment on the NHS Choices website. Patients can enter their postcode and the treatment they require, and a list of practices will be displayed.

Patients should contact their preferred dental practice to arrange an initial appointment and discuss a referral to an orthodontist if appropriate. Alternatively, your GDP may refer you to an orthodontist for their clinical opinion.

 

Q: I have moved to the UK and have been on a waiting list for orthodontic treatment abroad. Can I access treatment?

A: Follow the general information which provides advice on how to find a local NHS dentist and orthodontist. Upon referral, if the orthodontist deems that the patient meets NHS criteria, the orthodontist will agree the appropriate waiting time based on clinical need and the need to retain the patient’s relative position on the waiting list. In order for the patient’s relative position to be retained, it would be useful for the patient to provide evidence of how long they have been waiting for treatment (e.g. date of patient acceptance on overseas waiting list).

 

Q: I have moved to the UK and have been receiving orthodontic treatment. How can I continue my treatment?

A: Follow the general information which provides advice on how to find a local NHS dentist and orthodontist. Patients should arrange for their original patient records including study models, radiographs, photographs and notes to be provided so that an NHS orthodontist can confirm whether they would have met  NHS criteria on their original assessment date (i.e. that they were under 18, an Index of Treatment Need (IOTN) of at least 3.6 and have good oral health).

If the orthodontist feels that the NHS criteria would have been met, a course of treatment within the NHS can continue to be provided; If the orthodontist does not feel that the NHS criteria would have been met, or original patient records are not provided, a course of NHS treatment will not be provided.

 

Further information

If you have any further queries concerning orthodontic transfers, the Customer Contact Centre is the point of contact for patients and their representatives wanting information about accessing primary care (GP, dental, optical and pharmacy services). Any queries can be directed to NHS England’s Customer Care Centre, as follows:

Telephone: 0300 311 22 33
 Email: england.contactus@nhs.net

 

Posted on: 6th May, 2016
Updated on: 11th September, 2019

As part of their commitment to their local Armed Forces Covenant, many local authorities have chosen to offer discounts to Serving personnel, and their families in some areas, so that they can access fitness centres whilst they are at home and away from their unit fitness facilities. Search your local authority website for more information here.

 

Staying healthy

Regular exercise can reduce your risk of major illnesses, such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancer by up to 50%. If you’re in the Service or your other half is, remember you can use the Royal Navy’s sports facilities, free of charge. To find out what’s on offer near you, please visit here.

 

Starting an exercise programme

The NHS has a great total beginners’ running programme with free podcast and app, plus advice for new runners. NHS Couch to 5K.

 

Stumptuous

For sensible and straight-talking advice on starting weight-training, visit here. This site contains some colourful language.

 

Change 4 Life

This NHS website that has loads of ideas, recipes and games to help you and your family to be healthier and happier. Visit their website here.

 

Change 4 Life – Wales 

Would you or your family like to be healthier and happier? Would you like loads of ideas, recipes and games to help you do this?

Then join the thousands of other people in Wales and sign up today.

 

British Cycling and HSBC UK

British Cycling and HSBC UK are working in partnership to encourage people of all ages to get on their bikes and discover the delights and health benefits of cycling. More information about the range of programmes they are offering can be found here.

 

Eat Better Feel Better

This is a Scottish website that shows ways you can make changes to how you shop, cook and eat, to help you and your family eat better and feel better. It includes tips for fussy eaters, cook along videos, and recipes that you can save to your own account. Please visit here.

 

Get a Life, Get Active

This a Northern Irish website which has resources to help you incorporate enough activity into everyday life for better health. Please visit here.

 

Train Like a Jedi

This Star Wars themed programme aims to encourage children to get more active. It features a video staring Jade Jones, British taekwondo athlete and double Olympic gold medalist, to teach children 12 Jedi moves that can increase heart rate, improve physical skills, develop confidence, and emotional resilience. Please access this programme here.

 

Posted on: 6th May, 2016
Updated on: 17th July, 2018