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ARU research informs review on military families' needs

Published: 21 February 2022 at 11:27

Veteran hugging daughter

Duty and Care report launched today by Service Families Federations

A new report into the health and wellbeing needs of military families has been launched today by the Naval, Army and RAF Families Federations, informed by research by Anglia Ruskin University (ARU).

The Duty and Care: Armed Forces Family Mobility and Health Care Report examines the specific needs of families who are required to move frequently due to Service need. It provides practical recommendations to inform and tackle disadvantage as well as improve health outcomes.

Among the recommendations are to encourage families to identify current and potential needs to primary care; to expand the education and training of all NHS staff to understand the needs of mobile military families; to provide more information to military families on the variable nature of the NHS, particularly when moving across devolved national borders; and to improve the transfer of health care records between primary care organisations.

The study is based on the lived experiences of families. It was supported by NHS England and NHS Improvement and the MOD Families Team, was conducted by the Veterans and Families Institute for Military Social Research (VFI) at ARU, and sponsored by the three Families Federations.

Minister for Defence People and Veterans, Leo Docherty said:

“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 said:

“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.”

ARU’s Forces in Mind Trust Professor of Veterans and Families Studies, Michael Almond said:

“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.”

Read the full Duty and Care report.

Understanding the needs of Service personnel and families

One of seven high-profile research institutes at ARU, the Veterans and Families Institute for Military Social Research carries out world-leading research, policy development and consultation on the impact of military service. Its work informs and improves the wellbeing of veterans, service personnel and their families.