Building on the well-received Joint Health Needs Assessment (JHNA) England review of 2015, which was co-created by Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) and NHS England, and conducted by Community Innovations Enterprise (CIE), FiMT has awarded a further grant to CIE to conduct follow-on reviews for each of the devolved nations.

FiMT, established to help ex-Service personnel and their families make a successful transition back to civilian life, has awarded a grant of £93,900 to CIE to review whether the mental and related health needs of veterans and their family members are being assessed appropriately in each of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The contexts and ways in which health needs are assessed in each of the these devolved nations vary considerably, requiring specifically tailored reviews for each country in order to explore the particular ways in which heath needs assessments are carried out.

The focus of the project will be to help health service commissioners and service providers determine the most effective ways to assess the mental and related health needs of veterans and their families and to support the development of appropriate services to meet their needs, ensuring valuable resources are spent wisely.  For example, a needs assessment can look at the pattern of illness that affects veterans and whether patterns of illness vary between veterans and the general population.

The project will deliver the following:

  • A comprehensive database of the available health needs assessments in each of the devolved nations.  Needs assessments are the method by which local authorities and clinical commissioning groups (among others) assess the health and wellbeing needs of the local population. These assessments are then used by decision-makers to determine what services should be commissioned.
  • A report for each of the devolved nations that sets out the findings from the thematic analysis and identifies key gaps and strategic commissioning implications.
  • A final report in Autumn 2016 that provides a UK-wide perspective, including key findings from each of the devolved nations alongside the 2015 review from England.

Ray Lock, Chief Executive of Forces in Mind Trust, says: “Health needs assessments perform an important role as one of the methods through which commissioners assess the health needs of the local population and decide which services are required to meet those needs.  It is therefore vital that health needs assessments are providing an accurate picture of the mental health needs of veterans and their families so that money can be targeted and spent appropriately.  Extending our well-received assessment of health needs assessments in England to Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales will enable us to increase our evidence base and gain a real insight into how well the mental health needs of veterans and their families are being assessed and met across the UK.”

Dr Jon Bashford, who will lead the research for Community Innovations Enterprise, says: “We welcome the opportunity to undertake this important piece of work which builds on the review in England and will provide a truly national picture for the UK as a whole.  It will also enable each of the nations of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales to have their own review in a manner that is suitable and applicable to their unique contexts