Armed Forces and military reserves

COVID-19 sources of external staffing

Military reserves

Military reservists are an essential part of the NHS workforce. The contribution of your reservist colleagues will be especially valuable in relation to COVID-19, as they may have relevant experience of working in emergency conditions.

Reservists gain many additional skills and experiences through their service – some have already been deployed to similarly challenging environments and seen adversity at its extreme, such as supporting the UK’s response to Sierra Leone’s Ebola outbreak.

So far, we have seen some great examples of reservists’ skills being utilised outside their ‘civilian’ role and having a positive impact on NHS service delivery, such as by being seconded to intensive care units.

ESR records should be updated to ensure you have an accurate picture of who your reservists are and where they are working. You may also wish to update records of their skills to ensure these are up to date and fully reflect their competence. An early dialogue with them may be useful, to share ideas and identify areas where they could contribute.

The Ministry of Defence announced it has no intention of mobilising reservists who are employed in medical, welfare or other key worker roles. Further advice will be issued if this changes.

The wider Armed Forces community

During the COVID-19 outbreak, the partnership work between the NHS and the Armed Forces continues to prove more vital than ever.

The Ministry of Defence’s COVID Support Force is supporting public services through providing infrastructure, logistics and project management advice to the temporary emergency hospitals, helping to conduct COVID-19 testing and train others to do so, and delivering personal protective equipment.

There is a large pool of candidates from the Armed Forces who are looking to work in the NHS, including service leavers, veterans, and their families.

These job-seekers hold unique and transferable skills which could be utilised within the NHS to help with the increased demands on the system. The Step into Health candidate system has received a wave of applicants. If your organisation has already signed up to the system, you will be able to access and reach out to candidates.

Organisations, such as the Career Transition Partnership can also help you connect to ex-military personnel seeking new careers and the Forces Families Jobs offers NHS organisations free access to its large pool of jobseekers.


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