Healthwatch Oxfordshire report

Tuesday 24th March 2020

Families of armed forces personnel should be given better information about the health services available to them when they first move to the county, a new report from Healthwatch Oxfordshire recommends.

The independent health and social care watchdog found that by and large, forces families reported positive experiences of registering and using health care in Oxfordshire and results appeared similar to what might be expected in the general population.

Although being posted to a new area implies personal and logistical change and some challenges associated with relocation, military families have access to a variety of help and support from sources on and outside military bases.

However, people seem to report less access to information about local health services and providers.

In its report ‘Oxfordshire Military Families: Our experiences of health services in Oxfordshire’, Healthwatch Oxfordshire recommends that better access to information about local general practices, dentists, pharmacists, and hospital services, and about the registration process (e.g. acceptable proof of residency) would help newly arrived families locate available services more easily and reduce the redeployment stress. This information could be supplied as part of a welcome pack for new arrivals.

The report also recommends providing recently arrived families with documentation that they could use as proof of address this would help them register at health facilities.

Rosalind Pearce, Executive Director of Healthwatch Oxfordshire, said:

“Military families often experience difficulties that civilians do not have to deal with, owing to the frequently-transient nature of forces life. “However, it is gratifying that when it comes to healthcare, the families of armed forces members are not placed at a disadvantage.

“We hope that military will take on board our recommendations to make the move to new postings in Oxfordshire even more worry-free for families.”

Source: Healthwatch Oxfordshire

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