Families’ voices heard in new health care report

Today the Naval, Army and RAF Families Federations launch the ‘Duty and Care: Armed Forces Family Mobility and Healthcare’ report. This report provides recommendations to inform and tackle disadvantage as well as improve health outcomes for mobile military families.

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.

  • Gaining the 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 NHS staff to understand the needs of mobile military families
  • Provide more information to military families on the key frameworks of the NHS, so they are better empowered or informed
  • Improving transfer of information between primary care organisations
  • Continuity of care, using remote access
  • Creating single points of contact for Armed Forces families
  • Dentistry – look for ways to support Service families seeking dental care.

RAF Families Federation Director, Maria Lyle, speaking for all three Families Federations, says: “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.”

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 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.”

The Deputy Chief of General Staff, Lieutenant General Sir Christopher Tickell KBE, says: “The Army welcomes this timely, comprehensive and credible report that exposes a vital aspect of Service life, evidencing areas where families have been disadvantaged as well as areas of best practice.

“Ultimately, it will accelerate efforts to enhance the level and continuity of support provided to our families as they move between postings and are required to access, maintain and transfer health care services.

“The nine concrete recommendations contained within it represent the firm foundations upon which we can attend to the very real challenges that our families face and therefore improve their experiences.

“The report will inform the Armed Forces Families Strategy, guiding the development of our internal policies, as well as improving practical aspects such as coordination and engagement with external healthcare providers, particularly NHS England.

“This report has captured the voices of our incredible families, all of whom help underpin the operational effectiveness of the Army. We must now listen and work as a team across Defence and with partners, to make the necessary changes.”


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