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NHS England is seeking to improve the health and wellbeing support provided to military families, and your views are helping to shape that plan. The NHS in England provides healthcare services for families of serving personnel – regulars and reservists – who have registered with an NHS GP practice. But not everyone in the NHS understands the specific health needs of Armed Forces families, and what they are entitled to under the Armed Forces Covenant. That can mean, in some cases, that such families have problems getting the right care and support, which can lead to further challenges and difficulties.

 

Armed Forces community support networks have been set up in some parts of the country, focussing on improving their experience of health services, and feedback from families with experience of such networks has been positive. But in many areas such links are more informal and not as well-developed, so one strand of the engagement exercise was to explore whether setting up more networks might help.

 

The engagement took place for two months from the end of September 2020, supported by a questionnaire and a series of online focus groups and one-to-one interviews. More than 160 organisations were contacted directly to encourage responses, and with the supporting media also playing its part, a total of 1,391 responses were received by the NHS. Armed Forces families contributed 424 responses, and more than 80 per cent of the respondents were aged between 26 and 65. Just under 20 per cent of the respondents were from, or had links to, the Royal Navy or Royal Marines.

 

Now the results have been analysed, the NHS is embarking on a programme of actions under the heading ‘you said, we will do…’

 

One general theme that emerged was that Armed Forces families believed they would benefit from more information and dedicated support to help them find and access NHS services, and that a person acting as a single point of contact outside the chain of command, rather than an array of documents and leaflets, would be more helpful. And one line of thought is that community support networks could fulfil the function of a single point of contact, as well as helping NHS organisations understand the military culture and lifestyle, as well as the implications of the Armed Forces Covenant.

 

Furthermore, reducing waiting times as a result of moving bases and more joined-up communication between NHS organisations and between the NHS and Defence Medical Services (DMS) would ensure that Armed Forces families do not repeatedly have to start the referral process every time they move.

 

Respondents also indicated that better understanding from NHS staff, particularly from GPs, would make accessing services easier.

 

These findings have been shared with decision makers to help shape what support could be put in place for Armed Forces families in the future – and although this engagement has been completed, the NHS will continue to seek the views and experiences of Armed Forces families to ensure that any future support put in place meets their needs. The findings will be considered by the NHS England and NHS Improvement Armed Forces Oversight Group (AFOG), who will look at what actions are needed to progress improvements in this area.

 

Agreed actions will be progressed in collaboration with the NHS England and NHS Improvement Armed Forces Patient and Public Voice Group, Armed Forces families/Armed Forces community, the Naval Families Federation and our two sister groups in the Army and RAF, the wider NHS, Department of Health and Social Care and Ministry of Defence.

NHS report: 'You said, we will do'
Click here to access the 'You said we will do' report.
Front cover of the NHS report
Click here to access the research findings.
Posted on: 13th September, 2021

 

*CLOSED* Please click here to see the findings. 

 

The NHS has launched a questionnaire and series of virtual events to explore how it can improve health and wellbeing support for the Armed Forces community in England. 

 

NHS Armed Forces Families Engagement poster for serving personnelWhilst most Armed Forces families enjoy healthy lives, the unique circumstances of military life can cause pressures for some and affect an individual’s health and wellbeing. This is in addition to moving home every few years, which can make accessing the NHS difficult. The NHS want to help change this, so Armed Forces families are able to access NHS services easily in all parts of England. The NHS also want to ensure that they can get care and support from clinicians and people who understand their health and wellbeing needs.

 

Anyone can share their views, however, the NHS is particularly keen to hear from serving, reserve and veteran families, people who are serving in or who have served in the British Armed Forces (Regular and Reserves) and organisations working with or supporting the community. (Please see note at the bottom of this article)

 

Questionnaire –

 

Virtual events –

NHS Armed Forces Families Engagement posterIn addition to the online questionnaire, the NHS are also keen to engage directly with Service families. Unfortunately, they are not able to go out and meet with people face to face at the moment, so we have arranged a series on online events for serving RN/RM families instead, which we will be jointly hosting with the NHS team.  These will be small discussion groups* as we want everyone to have an opportunity to have their say and we have arranged events at different times to suit your needs.

 

If you can help us with this important piece of work, which will have an impact on the provision of Service families’ health and wellbeing in the future, please click on one of the links below to register.

 

 

*Please note that you can also remain anonymous during these online events, if you would prefer to. 

 

Note –

The Armed Forces Families Engagement Programme is a new NHS England initiative. However, the team are keen to hear from any Armed Forces family member who may want to contribute, wherever they live at the moment, as we are sure that many will still have had experiences of using NHS England services at some stage. We understand that NHS England intend to share the final report and outcomes of this programme with the NHS in the devolved administration areas too, so that they are aware of any local issues or feedback that our Service families may raise over the coming weeks.

 

Posted on: 30th September, 2020
Updated on: 13th September, 2021

NHS England and MOD had been working together since 2017 to design and test a programme to support the small number of Armed Forces personnel who have complex and enduring physical, neurological and mental health conditions that are attributable to injury whilst in Service. On 29th March 2019, the new Armed Forces personnel in transition, Integrated Personal Commissioning for Veterans Framework (IPC4V) was launched.

 

Individuals who are eligible for this new approach are proactively identified by medical staff whilst they are on the Defence Recovery Pathway. This will occur while they are in an Armed Forces Personnel Recovery Unit.

 

This approach will ensure that eligible individuals transitioning out of the Armed Forces into civilian life will continue to receive comprehensive support. IPC4V will help deliver personalised care in line with the health commitments of the Armed Forces Covenant. This is part of the expansion of support under the NHS Long Term Plan.

 

IPC4V seeks to ensure that a range of organisations (i.e. health and social care, MOD, Service Charities) will work collaboratively with the individual and their family and/or carer to ensure the provision of personalised care, support and treatment that meets their needs, in ways that work for them.

 

The benefit of IPC4V will also include ongoing support to help ensure that each individual is an active participant in the planning and management of their own health and wellbeing, with outcomes and solutions having meaning and context within their life. A dedicated Veterans Welfare Manager will also be assigned to provide a range of support, including ‘guided conversations’ to help with identifying goals and actions in their life and family situation. It gives individuals more choice and control over how their care is planned and delivered.

 

As well as the establishment of this new framework, the MOD will also provide extra funding to a very small number of individuals injured in service, and Armed Forces Compensation Scheme recipients who require 24 hour, one to one care from a trained individual.

 

The funding, which has currently been set as £24,000 per year, for life, can be spent on health and wellbeing activities which are above those already provided by statutory services to enable a better quality of life for this small number of individuals.

Further information and reading
IPC4V poster
Guide to IPC4V, produced by NHS England
IPC4V poster
Information for healthcare providers
IPC4V informational poster
Information for patients
Injured personnel informational poster.
Short Summary of IPC4V (Homeport Summer '19, p.48)

Please visit NHS England’s site here, or contact england.armedforceshealth@nhs.net for more information.

 

Posted on: 10th April, 2019
Updated on: 18th June, 2019

We want to hear from you if you work for the NHS and you’re a spouse/partner of someone currently serving in the Royal Navy or Royal Marines or if you are a Veteran who has recently left the Service and moved into a role within the NHS. We are working with NHS Employers on a project to support and promote employment opportunities for spouses/partners and Service Leavers and we would like to share your story with others.

 

The NHS Step into Health programme connects the NHS to people from the Armed Forces community, by offering an access route into employment and career development opportunities. The NHS recognises the transferable skills and cultural values that members of the Armed Forces community have, and how they are compatible with those required within NHS roles, and are keen to promote the job opportunities that are open to you, especially in non-clinical roles that you may not have considered before.

 

As part of this programme, they are looking to engage with members of staff who have already made the move into the NHS to share their experiences and tips with others. If you are interested in sharing your story, please email jenny.ward@nff.org.uk for more information.

 

Posted on: 4th December, 2018

We are sometimes contacted by families who need to obtain a copy of their NHS medical records.

 

England

There are two types of medical record you can ask to see:

  • medical records held by a healthcare provider that has treated you;
  • a summary care record (SCR) created by your GP.

Click here to find out more.

 

Scotland

You should contact your GP practice manager or hospital health records manager if you would like more information about how your records are stored. Click here to find out more. 

 

Wales

NHS Wales in partnership with the Informatics Service is bringing in a number of ways to view records electronically while still ensuring information is safe and secure. You can also find out more how patient details are handled. Find out more here.

 

Northern Ireland

Health and medical records will be held about you at your GP surgery, or in a hospital if you have had any appointments or treatment there. You should be able to request to see your records, though there may be a cost. Find out more here.

 

Did you know that you can also register on-line with your GP surgery, in England, which will allow you to view a lot of your GP records, book appointments and request prescriptions? More details can be found here

 

Posted on: 26th April, 2018

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