Local NHS reaches out to offer helping hand to region’s military families

The NHS in Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire is offering military families in the region dedicated help and support to navigate any issues and queries they may have which relate to local health and care.

Military personnel and their loved ones can now contact the local NHS directly to receive personalised advice and guidance on any matter that is making accessing local services a challenge.

A high number of military families are currently based in the region, particularly in parts of rural Wiltshire, with many having moved from elsewhere in the country.

To ensure these people can continue to access care seamlessly and with the same ease as others living in the region, the local NHS has signed up to OpCommunity.

This national initiative involves creating a single point of local contact, which military families can call upon in times of need, such as when medical records may not have been transferred from a previous provider.

Richard Marshall, Armed Forces Single Point of Contact, Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Integrated Care Board, said: “As an ex-serviceman, I know that many military families, some of whom will be new to the area, can feel overwhelmed at the thought of having to navigate the local NHS.

“Moving around the country to support a loved one in the Forces can be difficult enough, without having to factor in the need to, among other things, register with a new GP practice, arrange for records to be moved and find out where the nearest emergency department is.

“By being part of OpCommunity, we are giving families a direct route into the heart of the local NHS, where they can find answers to all their questions, directions to the right services and help for issues that are creating a barrier to care.”

Families can access this new support service in a number of different ways, either by telephone or email, or by filling in the form on the ICB website, which will then generate a callback.

Telephone enquiries can be made by calling 07880 300 035, while emails should be sent to bswicb.afspoc@nhs.net.

Alternatively, families can submit their details, along with a summary of their enquiry, into an online form, which can be found at www.bsw.icb.nhs.uk/opcommunity.

The ICB website holds a wide range of information about all local health and care services, including hospitals and GP practices, as well as advice on how access seasonal healthcare, such as flu and Covid-19 vaccines.