An employer perspective on supporting reservists in the NHS

Raj Bhamm

Raj Bhamm is head of workforce strategy at Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. She is the Armed Forces champion for her trust, and shares in this blog how Royal Surrey supports their reservist colleagues and explains the benefits that reservists bring to the NHS.

Supporting reservists in our workforce seemed like the right the thing to do as a responsible employer with corporate social responsibility. We needed to proactively position ourselves as an employer of choice to a range of different communities, especially hard to reach groups including the Armed Forces community.

Royal Surrey County Hospital signed the Armed Forces Covenant in November 2016. In 2017, we were successful in achieving a Silver Employer Recognition Scheme Award for our work in identifying and supporting our reserves, and for engaging with the Step into Health  programme to actively recruit service leavers, a programme which is supported by the senior executive team including chief operating officer Bob Pete, and our chief executive Paula Head.

We have found that reservists make an invaluable contribution to the trust, as they undertake a variety of clinical and leadership training courses which they can access as part of their military training. Our reservists have told us that their training and mobilisation allows them to develop excellent leadership, communication and teamwork skills. For medical staff it is a chance to enhance their clinical skillset, something which we benefit from in our hospital.

Our reservist employees receive additional qualifications, exceptional training and unique experiences. In return, we receive very dedicated, well trained and enthusiastic members of staff who are keen to foster team work and take on leadership responsibilities. They work well under pressure and have excellent problem-solving skills. They also bring back their experience of working with a diverse range of people, nationalities and cultures to the organisation.

Our executive team is totally supportive of this partnership and Bob Pete meets with the reservists regularly to discuss additional ways we can support them. This is publicised through our weekly e-newsletter and social media.

We have reviewed a number of our HR policies to support our reservists, increasing paid leave from five to ten days and providing flexibility at work to balance their commitment in their role.

We hold information stands to highlight the benefits of joining the Reserve Forces including development and leadership opportunities for staff. Staff awareness is raised through a corporate induction programme, we promote the reservist vacancies through our e-newsletter and share reservist experiences at both local and national level. We will continue to encourage our staff to join the Reserve Forces and to support our existing reservists.

Major Marion Creagh is one of the reservists within our trust and in her blog, she shares the skills that she has developed through her military career and how the support that Royal Surrey offers accommodates this. Read Marion's blog in full.

You can find out more about reservists and the Armed Forces community by visiting our dedicated web section. Read more about what we’re doing this Military March on our campaign web page.

Why Register?

Great reasons to register with NHS Employers

  • A personalised website
    Manage your profile and select topics of interest to you
  • Access your dashboard
    Bookmark useful content to help you quickly find what you're looking for
  • Get involved
    Contribute to our Talking Points discussions, comment on and rate our webpages
  • Keep up to date
    Receive the latest newsletters and media summaries

Log In