Government and NHS discuss expansion of healthcare army reservists

armed forces

25 / 3 / 2014 Midnight

Plans to expand the number of NHS staff who train as reservists for the armed forces were explored today in a major summit delivered by the NHS Employers organisation, NHS England and Health Education England.
Leaders aim to expand significantly programmes of engagement between the MoD and NHS organisations.
In a wide-ranging debate, the benefits to healthcare, individuals and national defence were highlighted. Staff who become reservists have fitness checks and receive world-class training that significantly improves their capability in either workplace.
The Reservist Summit in Westminster was attended by Anna Soubry MP (Defence Minister), Dr Daniel Poulter MP (Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health) and Major General Jeremy Rowan OBE (Queen’s Honorary Surgeon), as well as representatives of key organisations across the health system, and reservists.

Organisations committed to support the objectives of last year’s Ministry of Defence White Paper ‘Reserves in the Future Force 2020: Valuable and Valued’ which stated that, by 2020, volunteer reservists in the UK will need to make up around 29 per cent of the nation’s defence capacity. Currently over 2,000 NHS staff are trained and registered reservists.

Defence Minister Anna Soubry MP said:

“I am delighted to have attended this summit which has proved very useful in exploring future opportunities for NHS staff to join the Reserves. The NHS has long played an invaluable role providing Reservists to our Armed Forces and we are committed to utilising the skills that every healthcare professional brings. Reserve Service makes for a healthier Armed Forces and a stronger NHS; it is to our mutual benefit.”

Sue Covill, director of employment services at the NHS Employers organisation, said:
“We are extremely pleased with the progress made today and are now committed to take things forward with the Ministry of Defence and organisations represented. Reservists are highly committed individuals who bring value and a wealth of skills to the NHS including decision-making, leadership, team building and the ability to work under the utmost pressure. It is lifesaving training which has huge benefit to patients.”

Stephen Moir, Director of People at NHS England, said:

“NHS England recognises the genuine and real benefit that both encouraging and supporting reservists has not only for the armed forces, but for the NHS as a whole. The skills that reservists gain can directly contribute to the achievement of enhanced outcomes for patients, as well as providing excellent development for the individual reservists.”

Steve Clarke, Director of Finance at Health Education England, said:

“Not only do Reservists make a vital contribution to communities and national defence, Reservists develop skills, improve their team working and develop leadership capabilities which are of direct benefit to the NHS. This is why HEE encourages NHS employers to support the training and deployment of reservists.”

The full list of speakers is:
• Dr Daniel Poulter MP, Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health
• Anna Soubry MP, Defence Minister
• Maj Gen Jeremy Rowan OBE, Queen’s Honorary Surgeon
• Brig Van der Lande OBE
• Col David McArthur OBE TD
• Cdr Pauline Small – Nurse, Navy Reserve
• Lt Col Tom  Trinick -  Consultant Physician, Army Reserve
• Maj Simon Lawrence -  Radiographer, Army Reserve
• Maj Lisa Walker – Nurse, Army Reserve
• Sue Covill, Director of Employment Services, NHS Employers
• Stephen Moir, Director of People, NHS England
• Steve Clarke, Finance Director, Health Education England
• Mrs Lisa Miller, Operations Manager, Valindre Hospital
• Ms Beverley Morgan, Senior Matron Critical Care Services, Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust

Notes for editors:
• More information about reservists in the NHS is available at:

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