A Northamptonshire Healthcare survey into the care needs of Armed Forces veterans has highlighted several recommendations that could shape the future of their treatment in the county.
More than 450 people took part in the study between February and May 2018 and a report on the findings has been published today.
In particular, the report highlights the mental health needs of Armed Forces veterans and their families and some of the difficulties experienced when they leave the Forces and transition back to civilian life.
The report recommendations call for a greater awareness of the Armed Forces Covenant in the county, more timely access to suitable mental health support, and further preparation for civilian life when people leave the armed forces.
These recommendations will be addressed through the Northamptonshire Armed Forces Covenant Partnership of organisations from across the county who work closely together to ensure the Covenant aims are upheld.
Vikki Barr, Northamptonshire Armed Forces Covenant Officer said: “This report is welcomed by the partnership.
"Data is a key problem nationally for covenant partnerships and although there is a lot of national research, until now it has been unknown as to what the needs of our local community are.
"The recommendations will be addressed across the county, to ensure improvements are put in place for the benefit of our Armed Forces community.”
The Armed Forces community includes people serving in the Armed Forces as regulars or reservists, volunteers, ex-forces members (veterans) and family members of past and present service personnel.
As not much is known about the Armed Forces community in Northamptonshire, Healthwatch Northamptonshire carried out a survey on behalf of the Armed Forces Covenant Northamptonshire to find out more about the health and social care needs of this community.
Deirdre Newham MBE JP DL, Chair of the Armed Forces Covenant Partnership said: “This is a well-researched report, which gives all our partners the information needed to put in place plans to fully support our Armed Forces Communities in the county.”
The report by Healthwatch Northamptonshire will help the Armed Forces Community Covenant Partnership address issues such as the return to civilian life and mental health.
Kate Holt, CEO of Connected Together CIC (Healthwatch Northamptonshire) said: “We are pleased to have reached so many of the Armed Forces Community in Northamptonshire and have shared our findings with the University of Northampton for more in-depth analysis as part of their evaluation of the Armed Forces Covenant Partnership.
"Connected Together connects commissioners and service providers to communities and supported Healthwatch Northamptonshire to develop the AFC project.”