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Conference Q&A: Day 2 Session 3 Health & Wellbeing

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    Our speakers were not able to answer all the questions put to them during the conference due to time constraints, so they have given us their answers in writing. We will add extra responses to questions through time.

    Is there an identifiable process/pathway that is followed for service leavers who need complex healthcare/rehab at point of transition, to support needs out of MOD? Handover procedure….

    Andy Bacon and Ian Caws: Responsibility for transition of service leavers with complex needs lies with MoD (Defence Transition Service). Further information is available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/help-and-support-for-service-leavers-and-their-families#defence-holistic-transition-policy
    There is an integrated personalised commissioning pathway manged by Veterans UK and agreed with NHS (in England). Veterans Trauma network can also become involved where necessary/appropriate and required.

    CDP – Armed Forces People Support: Complex healthcare and rehabilitation needs are met by Personal Recovery Centres prior to a medical discharged. There is an integrated personalised commissioning pathway manged by Veterans UK and agreed with NHS (in England). Veterans Trauma network can also become involved where necessary/appropriate and required.
    Defence Transition Services provides tailored support to those Service leavers and their families with additional and complex challenges as they transition to civilian lift. Further information is available here.

    Do you think the new defence review report of large cuts to personnel will have any impact on NHS services and what plans are being looked at to support this potential looming increase accessing services due to unexpected discharges?

    Andy Bacon: MoD (CDP) to answer but public statements suggest natural wastage so no significant rise in discharges expected.

    CDP – Armed Forces People Support: Concur, there are no planned redundancies in the IR.

    Can I ask where the data came from for veteran suicide?

    Andy Bacon: Data shared with Contact Group from COBSEO. Defence Statistics may be able to say more about data origin.

    CDP – Armed Forces People Support: The Slide pack is produced by Defs Stats, however apart from the Falklands and Gulf data, the rest is not MOD owned data.

    What evaluation measures are in place with regard to the elements of Op COURAGE?

    Andy Bacon: Clinical registry will be gathering data systematically wef 1 Apr 2021. Expect to be able to review access times, volumes and outcomes.

    My understanding is that Reg units are supposed to brief service leavers on the AF Covenant; what I see at the coal face suggests otherwise. How can we influence Reg units (and reserve units!) to buy into this?

    CDP – Armed Forces People Support: There is no reliable evidence that AF Covenant is briefed to all SLs, (SLs include: early service leavers, admin discharges, Premature Voluntary Release, Normal Retirement Age or leaving at Option point,who may or may not carry out resettlement briefings and activities.

    Early intervention is known as a critical element to improve success outcomes in any intervention especially transition. What if any strategies are currently in place to encourage both service personnel and wider families to firstly recognise and then to access the need for early support especially when up against a culture of strong resilience necessary for AF living and therefore often a limited need for seeking help until civilian life throws up curve balls?

    Andy Bacon: Wider marketing of the statutory and voluntary sector offers available (via the Veteran’s Gateway?) may help. Also spouses/partners and families can be good advocates for help seeking. KCL and other studies show a variety reasons for delayed help seeking.

    Ian Caws: One of the MOD’s principal contributions to the delivery of the Government’s ‘Strategy for our Veterans’ is the introduction of a ‘holistic’ approach to transition (JSP 100 – Defence Holistic Transition Policy) available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/864875/20191028_JSP_100_V1.0_Oct_2019_-_Final.pdf

    CDP – Armed Forces People Support: Defence Transition Services (DTS) is a new, wholly owned and operated MOD organisation, which is administered and run through MOD’s Veterans UK and lies within Defence Business Services (DBS). It has been established to operate as part of Defence Holistic Transition Policy to provide full spectrum transition support for (potentially) vulnerable Service Personnel (SP) and their families as they prepare to return to civilian life. It is the ‘sister’ organisation to the Veterans’ Welfare Service (VWS). The DTS team also work to support Front Line Command business areas responsible for SP transition by providing advice and back up relating to referral processes and the availability and capabilities of DTS provision. To enable Units and Individuals to be referred to DTS, a new protocol has been introduced, called the Defence Transition Referral Protocol (DTRP). In conjunction with DTS, a Life Skills package is under development to afford Service Personnel and their families, needs based continual development on key areas such as Finance, Housing, Wellbeing and Through-Life Education.

    It might be worth emphasising that Op Courage does not exist in Scotland – there has been some confusion here about that. The new NHS(S) Scottish Veterans Care Network is developing a MH Plan which should cover most if not all of the Courage outcomes.

    Andy Bacon: We have been at pains to do so (England is in our job title)! However not everyone is alert to the differences between England and UK, or that the health systems are different in the administrations. Equivalent services are available in Wales and planned for Scotland this autumn. Northern Ireland (due to their unique circumstances) have slightly different plans.

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