Better Care

BCHC among NHS leaders in veteran pledge

BCHC has become one of the first NHS organisations to sign up to a new national initiative to significantly boost the recruitment of military veterans.

Trust representatives were among NHS employers from all over England who welcomed His Royal Highness The Duke of Cambridge to the official launch of the Step Into Health initiative to support recruitment from the Armed Forces community.

Developed by Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, alongside Walking with the Wounded and the Duke’s charity, the Royal Foundation, the programme is designed to help NHS organisations recruit veterans and reap the benefits of skills and experience gained during military service.

The event was attended by 30 NHS organisations who are the first to pledge their support for the initiative following a successful pilot phase.

NHS Employers chief executive Danny Mortimer with HRH The Duke of Edinburgh
NHS Employers chief executive Danny Mortimer with HRH The Duke of Edinburgh

In his speech, The Duke spoke of the challenges faced by the Armed Forces community in making the transition back into civilian employment and highlighted common values shared by both the NHS and the Armed Forces.

“The skills and experience that veterans can offer employers are highly sought after and valued within the NHS,” he said.

“For example, an ability to operate under pressure, courage in the face of adversity, leadership and management together with – above all – a strong and unwavering sense of public duty."

BCHC was represented by armed forces healthcare programme manager Scott Thornton and senior HR business partner Jonathan Cassidy at the Step Into Health launch.

Scott said: “We are very proud to support this new national programme, which is clear evidence of our continuing support for the Armed Forces community.

“Being one of the first 30 organisations in the UK to pledge support to the Step into Health Programme is a further statement of our commitment to promoting and supporting the wellbeing and independence of our veteran communities.

“Veterans bring a very wide range of skills, experience and leadership ability developed in the Armed Forces to the workplace.

Jonathan added: “Our vision is to be an employer that is inclusive of all talents, backgrounds and experiences from all the communities we serve.

Step Into Healthcare pledge certificate

“The Duke talked about shared values and it is those values that are embedded in our recruitment and retention agenda and bring significant benefits when it comes to recruiting to areas where there are hard-to-fill vacancies and a shortage of skills in particular specialities.

“Attending the Step Into Health event was a great opportunity to learn from the experiences of NHS organisations that have already benefited from the programme’s support in recruiting veterans.  It was also a true privilege to meet HRH Prince William!”

“It’s clear that the scheme has been extremely effective and further supports our trust’s commitment to diversity and supporting veterans with physical and mental health conditions.”

Danny Mortimer, chief executive of NHS Employers said: "The NHS shares the same debt of gratitude to our Armed Forces as the rest of society.  This programme, and the work we do to support the health of our veterans and their families, only covers some of the enormous debt we owe them in return for their selfless bravery and sacrifice."