Covenant support for Service families: Healthcare

In healthcare, Covenant support for Service families includes the following:
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“I don’t know about about the local NHS services available, due to the Armed Forces regularly re-locating us”

The local variability in services could lead to a lack of knowledge amongst the Armed Forces community of the healthcare and support services available to them in their new local area, thereby affecting their ability to access local healthcare services.

Find out about NHS information and support for Armed Forces families. This includes healthcare advice for you and your family when relocating within the UK or returning home from an overseas posting.

GOV.UK also provides mental health guidance for Service families. The support available also includes Togetherall (previously known as the Big White Wall), a mental health support service. Also, HeadFit for Life is a mental fitness tool designed specifically for the Armed Forces community.

“I wait longer for treatment, because the Armed Forces have re-located us while I’m on an NHS waiting list”

Video used with permission of the BFBS.

Service families on a waiting list for treatment, or other health services, in one area might be required to move to another area before they are treated. If they are placed at the back of their new waiting list, the Service family might experience delays in receiving treatment, and they might have to wait significantly longer for treatment compared to non-Service families who are able to stay in one place. If these waits are further exacerbated by subsequent moves, the Service family could wait years for treatment.

While the fundamental NHS principle of treatment on the basis of clinical need remains paramount, healthcare staff should be aware that patients from the Armed Forces Community might have already waited a considerable time for treatment in another locality and that their re-location might not have been made by choice. As such, healthcare staff may wish to consider total time spent on waiting lists, both inside and outside the local area, and ensure that the Service family keeps its relative place on the waiting list in their new area, when possible.

Please see NHS information and support for Armed Forces families, which has a section on waiting lists.

Wider sources of information

  • If you have a query or comment about the Armed Forces Covenant and wish to receive a response, please use the Contact Us form.
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