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New project to improve data on veteran health and social care provision in the UK

The research project, led by Northumbria University, will map health and social care service usage by ex-service personnel across the UK, creating a unified dataset to inform future policy decisions.

31/10/23

New project to improve data on veteran health and social care provision in the UK

A new research project aims to delve deeper into the health and social care service usage of veterans in the UK.

The Map of Need Aggregated ResearCH (MONARCH) study, will be co-funded by Northumbria University and the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust, and will collate and investigate health and social care data from multiple sources to inform better understanding of veterans’ specialised needs.

Currently, three million veterans living in the UK need specialist health and social care support and the project will allow charities and statutory services to develop a unified evidence-base. The project aims to produce a map of veterans and their families’ welfare needs across the UK and ensure that policy makers can access a nationwide dataset of veteran service usage in an easily accessible format.

Forces in Mind Trust has awarded £325,000 of funding to Northumbria to improve the collection of data on how veterans use health and social care services to help understand their unique needs and required support.

By examining how the veteran population as a whole use health and social care services, data can better inform policy made for veterans by charities, local and national government, and the NHS.

Established in 2014, Northumbria University’s Northern Hub for Veterans and Military Families Research brings together academics, ex-service personnel and experts from a range of disciplines who are dedicated to improving the health and social wellbeing of veterans and their families.

Hub Director, Professor Matthew Kiernan, former Lieutenant Commander in the Queen Alexandra’s Royal Naval Nursing Service, said veterans’ needs are highly complex and continually change.

“This project is truly unique and provides a strong rationale and methodology to continuously monitor such changes. This project will map a constant data flow to provide a significant evidence base which in turn will improve planning, service development and resource allocation, together with the readiness to adapt to the emerging needs of this veteran population and the changes that might occur in the health and social care systems across the UK.

“Working with our sector partners, we will build an interactive visual dashboard fed by the aggregated dataset, which will also include open-source data such as veteran census data and MoD data, and will summarise the current situation of service usage, together with the populations’ main characteristics.

“Nothing on this scale has been attempted before and this project has the potential to innovate the post-pandemic public health sector in the general population by contributing useful methods and techniques for health and social care planning.”

Michelle Alston, Chief Executive of Forces in Mind Trust, which is co-funding the project, said they hoped to create the “vital data tools needed to create proactive health and social care interventions for ex-Service personnel.”

“Understanding veterans’ unique needs is crucial, and this project will provide a national and adaptive data feed of the health and social care use of veterans, an essential step in the development of services and policies that will drive improved outcomes for ex-Service personnel.”

Find out more about the Northern Hub for Veterans and Military Families Research’s work to improve the health and social wellbeing of veterans and their families: https://www.northumbria.ac.uk/business-services/engage-with-us/the-northern-hub-for-military-veterans-and-families-research/

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