In late 2020, the Trust launched an Armed Forces Network. David Williams, Rotational Physiotherapist is Chair of the Armed Forces Network alongside and Dr Magnus Harrison, Executive Medical Director and Executive Sponsor.
Dr Harrison explains why this role is important to him and the Trust “We are exceptionally proud to have a strong relationship with the Military and count many members of the Armed Forces community as valued members of our teams. Military personnel, whether reservists, veterans, or their partners, play an integral part in the life of our Trust and wider communities, so it’s important that we are able to offer them our support.”
David Williams also explains why this network is important and explains his role as Chair “I lead the network to ensure that colleagues and patients from the defence community are heard across the organisation. I am a military veteran who is passionate about improve care for our veteran patients. I also have a keen interest in how we increase collaboration between the hospital trust and wider defence: our reservist colleagues are key to this. We must proudly support our Military personnel, whether reservists, veterans, or their partners.”
The Armed Forces Network meets monthly and actively supports the Trust in delivery of the Armed Forces Covenant and seeks to promote best practice and support to all aspects relating to the Armed Forces and healthcare.
In June 2021, the Trust was honoured to sign the Armed Forces Covenant.
The Armed Forces Covenant is a promise from the nation that those who serve or have served, and their families, are treated fairly. We are working with businesses, local authorities, charities and community organisations to support the forces through services, policy and projects.’
The re-signing took place at the Royal Derby Hospital to honour those who proudly protect our nation, with honour, courage, and commitment, ranging from serving troops to service families, veterans and cadets.
Kathy McLean, Chair at UHDB, attended the event to re-sign the covenant along with Gavin Boyle, Chief Executive at UHDB, and key members of the Ministry of Defence to show their support. Kathy said: “I am exceptionally proud of our growing bond between UHDB and the Armed Forces.”
The Armed Forces Covenant is an agreement on behalf of the nation to treat those who are in, or have served, the armed forces fairly.
Kathy added: “We hope that this signing reaffirms the Trust’s commitment to those in the Armed Forces who deserve both the recognition and respect from all surrounding communities who they serve.”
The Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) encourages employers to support defence and inspire others to do the same. The scheme encompasses bronze, silver and gold awards for employer organisations that pledge, demonstrate or advocate support to defence and the armed forces community, and align their values with the Armed Forces Covenant.
As a provider of healthcare services we are committed to ensure that military veterans and military families face no disadvantage compared to other citizens when accessing healthcare. Work is being undertaken to ensure that our patient information system has the facility to record if people have served in the Armed Forces.
If you have served in the military, we would like to encourage you to let us know, so that we can ensure you receive appropriate care.
Similarly we understand some of the challenges facing military families when accessing healthcare services. Again, we are committed to ensuring that military families experience no disadvantage in accessing healthcare due to the military service of a family member.
Reservists bring a wealth of experience and skills to the organisation and we recognise that this contributes to the delivery of safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led patient care. At the Trust we are proud to employ and support a number of reservists.
As a Trust, we actively seek to support our reservists on deployment by providing two weeks special leave.
Our reservists have full access to an occupational health service to which they can self-refer in a confidential manner.
Through the Trust’s armed forces staff network we would actively seek to buddy/ mentoring our reservists in preparation for, during and upon return from deployment, should this be appropriate.
Step into Health offers an access route into employment and other career development opportunities within the NHS to members of the Armed Forces community. The programme recognises the transferable skills and cultural values that Armed Forces personnel have developed, and how these skills and values are compatible with working in the NHS.
If you are currently employed in the armed forces and interested in exploring future employment opportunities at the University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust.