HEALTH / WELL-BEING

Utilisation of the principles of the Armed Forces Covenant in NHS Trusts and Clinical Commissioning Groups across England: a freedom of information investigation

January, 2019
Article:

This article seeks to explore the UK’s National Health Service provision for veterans and the commissioning of veteran-specific services by Clinical Commissioning Groups.

Abstract

To determine the extent to which National Health Service (NHS) service providers appoint a named Armed Forces veteran lead or champion, and to explore the commissioning of veteran-specific services by Clinical Commissioning Groups. A convergent mixed method design was used to improve understanding obtained from the information provided by respondents on their practice. The study comprised two parts: phase 1 involved NHS Trusts, and phase 2 involved Clinical Commissioning Groups. All NHS Trusts and Clinical Commissioning Groups in England were contacted using a freedom of information request. All NHS trusts and Clinical Commissioning Groups across England. Interventions Initially, existing national websites were searched to gather information within the public domain. An audit was carried out, using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 2000 to gather further information. The FOIA 2000 applies to UK Government departments and public authorities, including NHS Trusts in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Responses from the freedom of information requests illustrate inconsistencies in relation to adopting the principles of the Armed Forces Covenant. The inconsistencies extend to the practice of appointing an Armed Forces Veteran Lead or an Armed Forces Veteran Champion. There is also evidence to suggest a lack of commitment to and understanding of policy guidance in relation to Clinical Commissioning Group responsibility for commissioning veteran-specific services. Findings from this study support the case for making improvements to, and improving the consistency of, commissioning practices for veterans.

Full Reference

McGill, G., Wilson, G., Hill, M. and Kiernan, M. D., 2019. Utilisation of the principles of the Armed Forces Covenant in NHS Trusts and Clinical Commissioning Groups across England: a freedom of information investigation. BMJ Open, 9(1).

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