Agenda item

Military Covenant

To discuss the Military Covenant and implications of statutory guidance for health and care.


The Report attached to the agenda, was introduced to the Board by Will Oulton (Corporate Support Manager), with it outlined that the Military Covenant is astatutory duty which brings the care of the Armed Force Community to the attention of local health partners. Additionally, that a new statutory duty commenced in autumn 2022 for healthcare, housing, and education providers to have due regard to the Covenant and statutory guidance had been published to inform this.


Bernadette Knight (Veterans Health Care Alliance) was in attendance and was invited to speak regarding the report. Bernadette raised the following points:


·       It was outlined that the Military Covenant had been strengthened to ensure that NHS provider organisations would comply with the overarching principles of the Covenant and therefore ensure that individuals with military status were not disadvantaged and were able to have improved healthcare access.

·       The Office of National Statistics published in 2022 that 1/25 people in England have a military status and that such data was important as without knowing the population, NHS providers would be unable to conduct an effective needs assessment.

·       An overview of the Veterans Health Care Alliance was provided, with it noted that the Southwest was most compliant in terms of providers working to the 8 standards outlined to the Health and Wellbeing Board: with 90% of providers meeting standards.

·       The work conducted by the Great Western, Salisbury and Royal United Hospitals was detailed, with it noted that each hospital was at different stages of development, with benefits such as improved discharge identified.


Comments were received in relation to the following points:


·       It was stated that the military was of critical importance to the DNA of Wiltshire, with there being around 32,000 veterans and 20,000 serving personnel and their families living in Wiltshire.

·       The importance of the Covenant as a legal duty to the ICB was stressed, with the need for assurance and evidence required to meet this duty.

·       Jason Goodchild (Ops Manager for Defence Primary Healthcare in Wessex) stated the importance of the Covenant with examples cited of the importance of identifying military personnel to ensure that wrap around care can be provided. Additionally, the issue of soldiers often being recruited and housed in areas that had not been built for the need was highlighted.

·       Reference was drawn to a Healthwatch report produced in 2020 on the experience of military families with health and social care, which identified that military families experience the same problems as other families in Wiltshire but even more so due to moving around. Dentistry was identified as a significant issue.

·       A further update from ICB on this issue later in the year would be welcome.


Decision – The Wiltshire Health and Wellbeing Board accepted the following recommended proposals


i)                The Wiltshire Health and Wellbeing Board noted the information presented on the implications of the new Armed Forces Covenant Duty;

ii)              The Wiltshire Health and Wellbeing Board noted Wiltshire Council’s assessment of how it is meeting its commitments as a signatory to the Covenant and to the new Duty (appendix 1);

iii)                  The Wiltshire Health and Wellbeing Board agreed to receive an update from the ICB on NHS activity to deliver the Duty;

iv)                  The Wiltshire Health and Wellbeing Board agreed that partners continue to work together to consider how the Duty impacts on their services.


The Chairman called the Board to a break at 11:15pm and resumed at 11:20pm.

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