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

December 12, 2023

The Trust has co-funded the next stage of work at Northumbria University to build on the Veteran data collections of the Map of Need.

The Map of Need Aggregated ResearCH (MONARCH) study has also received funding from the Forces in Mind Trust, and builds upon the work of the Covenant funded, ‘Map of Need’, which to date has provided an important public health observation function.

This exciting project will collate and investigate health and social care data from multiple sources to inform better understanding of Veterans’ specialised needs.

What is MONARCH?

MONARCH builds on the work of Northumbria University’s Northern Hub for Veterans and Military Families Research to produce a map of Veterans and their families’ welfare needs across the UK. It will ensure that policy makers can access a nationwide dataset of Veteran service usage in an easily accessible format.

The MONARCH study will allow statutory and charity services to consider whether the three million Veterans living in the UK need specialist health and social care support. This requires development of a unified evidence-base, examining how the Veteran population, as a whole, use health and social care services.

Data from the MONARCH study will be used to better inform policy made for Veterans by charities, local and national government, and the NHS.

Understanding the needs of our community

Anna Wright, Chief Executive of the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust said: “A vital part of our work here at the Trust is understanding the needs and challenges of the Armed Forces community we serve to ensure the funding we administer is making a real difference. To fully understand these needs, access to timely and trustworthy data for those supporting this community, including our applicants and grant holders, is imperative. Building on the success of the Map of Need and taking a step further in this important data exploration, MONARCH will ensure the impacts upon Veterans across the UK can be more easily understood, properly recorded and analysed, and used to bring about positive change.”

Michelle Alston, Chief Executive of Forces in Mind Trust said: “Ensuring that ex-Service personnel and their families live fulfilled civilian lives is at the core of FiMT’s work. Therefore, 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. Forces in Mind Trust is very pleased to co-fund this project to create the vital data tools needed to create proactive health and social care interventions for ex-Service personnel.”

A truly unique project

Professor Matthew Kiernan, Northumbria University’s Northern Hub for Veterans and Military Families Research, Hub Director, 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.”

Find out more

The Trust currently has a wealth of information available on the Map of Need (earlier iteration of the MONARCH Study), including geographical reports, thematic reports and information from Armed Forces charities.

This initial work has underpinned development of the MONARCH study, and we encourage you to take a look and find out more.