If you’re considering, or have been offered, an overseas posting, it’s important to understand the medical pre-screening process that your family will have to go through before you’ll be given clearance to go. AFF Health & Additional Needs Specialist, Karen Ross, explains why…

Healthcare overseas could be quite different to what you receive in the UK. So it pays to think about all your needs before you go – this may include dietary requirements, contraception, HRT and screening, as well as medication and ongoing treatment or therapy.

Where you’re posted to will determine how you access local healthcare. It may be through a Defence Primary Health Care (DPHC) practice, local host nation provider or through a contractor on behalf of the MOD, such as Healix. It’s important that all your family’s healthcare needs can be met in the country you’re going to and medical prescreening will help to identify this.

How it works

The Defence Global Practice (DGP) screens all families that are potentially heading overseas as well as those of you moving from one overseas location to another.

Once you’ve been informed about an overseas assignment you should contact the Movement and Support Services (MSS) Families Section and they will send you a medical questionnaire to complete for each member of your family. These should be returned to the DGP for assessment by its medical team.

If you have a medical condition or need any medication, they may need to contact your GP or hospital team, with your permission, for further information. A recommendation will then be made on whether your medical needs can be supported in your new location. Make sure that you answer the questionnaire truthfully and in detail because, if you arrive overseas and can’t be supported  here, you could be returned to the UK.

Once overseas, if you’re in an area without a DPHC practice, you can contact the DGP if you have any healthcare concerns or need any guidance or support.

Leah Ann Humphreys (main photo) underwent the pre-screening process before her family were posted to Cyprus, she says: “Having had some recent health issues I was quite worried about the clearance process, however, although the paperwork was in-depth and lengthy, I was very relieved to know that, even with pre-existing issues, there were no concerns in terms of supportability. I was advised to contact the medical centre on arrival to arrange follow-up care. I honestly don’t think it could have been any more straightforward.”

What if we’re turned down?

If your medical clearance is denied, there’s now an appeals process, which will be explained when your unsupportable decision is made. This is independent of the DGP and is owned by the single services.

It’s important that you submit your appeal with any new information to the DGP within 14 working days of the initial decision. The process should take no longer than eight weeks before a final decision is made.

Further information

JSP 770 Chapter 2A contains more information. If you or a family member has a medical condition, additional needs and/or a disability, you should read AGAI 81, part 8 and complete the proforma at Annex L, so that your serving partner’s career managers are aware of any specific support you may need.

You can contact the MSS Families Section at UKSTRATCOM-DefSp-DSCOM-FamSec@mod.gov.uk

Know before you go – spring A&Y’s Global Groundwork article offers a handy checklist to consider before accepting an overseas posting.

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