The Welsh Government, working with Public Health Wales wanted to better understand the healthcare need of veterans so they could better support them in the community.
Undertake research with veterans across the age ranges – from 20 years old to 70+ and capture the experience of veterans accessing Health and Social Care services in Wales – focusing specifically on the experience of veterans who have recently left the forces and adapting to civilian life.
We undertook research with a large number of veterans residing in the Cardiff and Vale area of South Wales, working with the forces directly and a number of charities supporting veterans. The research was a mix of quantitative and qualitative research exploring their experience in areas such as GP access, support for mental health, adapting to civilian life, and access to social care and services provided by local government. We also explored the awareness levels amongst healthcare professionals of the Armed Forces Covenient.
This research has helped to shape healthcare policy and how the system can be changed or reformed to better meet the needs of veterans. We used storytelling to bring to life the key themes we identified through this research including harrowing stories of homelessness, poor mental health, loneliness and isolation and a system that was not set up to support the needs of those leaving the forces. A key insight identified during this research was that the third sector, despite their great intentions, were duplicating efforts and a more collaborative approach to supporting veterans was needed in Wales. This pooling together of resources – both financial and in terms of skills and talent – could deliver a greater impact for veterans in Wales.