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Understanding the health and social care needs of older merchant navy veterans

Seafarers UK commissioned us as Academic Partner to undertake a three-year programme of research to improve our understanding of the UK’s merchant navy veteran community, their conflict experiences and their health and social care needs and how these are currently being met

  • Situation and task

  • What was the impact?

  • Key success factors

  • Situation and task

  • Situation and task

    In 2015, The Armed Forces Covenant formally recognised the role played by members of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) and merchant navy in armed conflict, and therefore their place as veterans. However, relatively little was known about veterans’ experiences of conflict and what their subsequent health and social care needs might be, or about the types of services available to meet those needs.

    Seafarers UK was awarded a grant by the Aged Veterans Fund to undertake research with the Nautilus Welfare Fund and Institute of Public Care to improve this understanding. Over a three-year period IPC carried out research, including:

    • Electronic and postal surveys of almost 400 veterans.
    • Face-to-face interviews with 76 veterans in key port areas across the UK.
    • A service mapping exercise in the Solent region.
    • An evaluation of a targeted case worker outreach service for veterans.

    The purpose was to identify the size, location, health and social care needs of merchant navy veterans and their dependants, and to raise their profile with ex-service welfare providers and local authorities. The research also allowed us to understand the range of services and organisations which are available, and still needed, to address the needs and aspirations of this group of veterans and to understand what works in reaching and supporting them.

  • What was the impact?

  • What was the impact?

    The work has raised awareness of the potential veteran status of merchant navy seafarers.

    The findings have been published and are already informing future developments in services.

    There is a better understanding of the current and potential market of services to support this group of people - what they do, how they work together, how people access them, and where there might be some unmet needs.

  • Key success factors

  • Key success factors

    Critical to the success of this piece of work has been the ongoing and in-depth engagement with veteran seafarers themselves, giving them a real sense of involvement. Veterans were keen for their stories to be heard, often sharing very personal and traumatic accounts of their time during conflict and of the profound impact this has had on their lives since.

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