Blog post

Pledged to success: ULHT supports its local Armed Forces community to ‘Step into Health’

United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT) has recently pledged to support its Armed Forces community with Step into Health.

10 February 2023

We spoke with Steve Martin, RAF Veteran, ULHT,  to see what the organisation has been doing since taking the pledge.

In late 2022 we took the proud step of re-pledging to Step into Health. Since then, the ULHT Armed Forces staff network team has developed policies and activities to increase support to those who perhaps had not previously considered a role within the NHS.

Our organisation is located deep in RAF Lincolnshire country, and the Armed Forces community form deep pockets within our local recruitment area and service user community. This was a key driver to pledge to Step into Health, as we wanted to provide a dedicated and supported route into employment for this community.

In January, we delivered our inaugural insight day. The inspiring and inclusive event was sold out and attended by delegates who represented almost all cohorts of the Armed Forces community; service leavers, veterans, reservists, cadet force adult volunteers, wounded, injured and sick and family members.

Andrew Morgan, our chief executive at ULHT, welcomed our audience and reiterated the importance of their transferable skills. He highlighted their resourcefulness and ability to cope with ambiguity alongside their leadership, management and communication skills. Andrew also said:

"[your] embedded values link well with those of ULHT. "[they] make a recognisable difference to the workforce and the patients"

The day showcased the employment and training opportunities within ULHT, East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust, the NHS Reserve and wider NHS. It included top tips on the application process from our HR specialist and personal stories from those who have made the transition from the Armed Forces into the NHS workforce. 

Abbi Quinn, vice chair of the Armed Forces staff network, explained how trust policy has been reviewed and developed to support family members of regular personnel and highlighted the benefits of flexible working opportunities.   

We recognise our role as an anchor organisation, and we understand the importance of reducing barriers to employment and the difference this makes to our community. For members of the Armed Forces community these barriers can include: 

  • gaps in employment resulting from multiple relocations in support of regular service 
  • the inability to translate or recognise where skills and experience fit within an organisation.   

The next step for us is to offer work placements and roll out a guaranteed interview scheme in the coming weeks, with more Armed Forces insight days planned in the future.

October 2023 update

Three people standing in front of branded banners posing for a picture at a Step into Health event.

ULHT held a second, very successful insight day in October 2023. 

Collaborating with several other NHS organisations from the Integrated Care System and the surrounding area, a comprehensive insight was given into the opportunities for the Armed Forces community that are offered by the trusts in the region. 

The day showcased the employment and training opportunities and support available both pre-employment and post-employment at ULHT, Lincolnshire Community Health Services, Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust and NHS Lincolnshire Integrated Care Board. There were also tips on the application process from each organisation’s HR specialist and personal stories from people who have transferred into the NHS from the Armed Forces. 

Each organisation also explained how their policies are being reviewed and developed to best support members of all cohorts of the Armed Forces community. 

ULHT now offers work placements and a guaranteed interview to applicants from the Armed Forces community who fulfil the essential criteria for a post. ULHT has been recognised for its initiatives and was recently awarded the coveted ERS Gold award. All other NHS organisations involved in insight days have achieved the silver ERS award and are working hard to achieve gold standard in the near future. 

The next step is to hold Armed Forces insight days as bi-annual events to build on the success of these events and further widen participation within the community.