The Duke of Cambridge launches nationwide scheme for military veterans to work in NHS

 HRH The Duke of Cambridge and Danny Mortimer speak to guests

The Duke of Cambridge today launched a nationwide programme to help military veterans, their spouses and dependants find work in the NHS.

His Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge joined NHS Employers chief executive Danny Mortimer in central London to meet ex-servicemen and women who took part in the Step Into Health scheme, which is supported by the Duke’s charity, The Royal Foundation.

Nearly 50 health trusts have already joined the programme which asks NHS organisations to develop recruitment practices and career opportunities to help veterans, their spouses and dependants take the next step in their careers.

The pilot programme has so far helped personnel from across all ranks and branches of the military from combat infantry soldiers to a Royal Navy Commodores.

Vacancies filled in the NHS include a myriad of clinical and non-clinical jobs, from ambulance staff to operating practitioners and porters to departmental directors. Just as impressive is the fact the scheme has spread across every type of NHS provider - acute, community, mental health, ambulance services and a number of community interest companies (CICs) and commissioning support units (CSUs).

Danny Mortimer, chief executive of NHS Employers, which is part of the NHS Confederation, said:

“We are absolutely delighted that His Royal Highness is such a huge supporter of this scheme and would like to thank him for taking the time to meet the people who have worked so hard on the project and who have benefited from this work.

“Step Into Health is recognition that the nation’s largest employer, the NHS, can benefit from the talent and dedication of Armed Forces personnel and their families.

“Today’s testimony illustrated what a valuable contribution they can make to every facet of the health service.”

Speaking at the event, His Royal Highness, The Duke of Cambridge, said:

 "In many ways, the NHS has been the perfect partner in this endeavour. Many of the values the NHS espouses are well understood and widely practiced within the Armed Forces: close teamwork, commitment, compassion, respect, dignity and professionalism.

"Likewise, the skills and experience that veterans can offer employers are highly sought after and valued within the NHS. By that I mean, 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."
The Duke will also visit Evelina London Children's Hospital where he met veterans working at the hospital. He then travelled to the national launch, hosted by NHS Employers, at Chandos House, Mayfair, where he gave a speech on the importance of the programme.

For more on the Step Into Health scheme.

To watch the video which was played at the launch.


Notes to editor:
Step Into Health is led by NHS Employers, and supported by the Royal Foundation, Health Education England, NHS Improvement, NHS England, the Careers Transition Partnership and the charity Walking with the Wounded.

The programme was successfully piloted by five NHS organisations over the past two years and was developed by Norfolk & Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Walking with the Wounded. These organisations continue to commit to the programme and now act as our ambassadors.

Caption for photograph: Danny Mortimer and HRH The Duke of Cambridge speak to guests

Case Studies:
Tiffany Hemming: Former British Army Officer – Now Director of Transformation at St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Tiffany joined the Territorial Army in 1997 as a veterinary officer in the Royal Army Veterinary Corps and rapidly moved across to the Regular Army. She worked initially as a manager in a military working dog unit, deployed to both Bosnia and Kosovo as a veterinary officer and then moved across to Whitehall where she worked in policy and strategy within Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defence, and gained a lot of wider experience within NATO and supported operations in Iraq. 

Tiffany has worked with the Defense Intelligence Agency in the USA, the Defence Intelligence Staffs within the MOD in the UK, and most recently led on the procurement of medical and CBRN equipment for Defence. She deployed a team of 190 to Afghanistan in 2009/10 at the height of the casualties where they provided all primary, pre-hospital emergency care, dentistry, physiotherapy, mental health support and general medical management to all UK forces across the country, troops from other nations including Afghanistan, and local civilians. Tiffany has 5 degrees, including her veterinary qualification, and she retired as a Lieutenant Colonel from the Army in 2017.  Tiffany is now employed as Director of Transformation at St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, which is a board level position as one of the executives managing the day-to-day running of the hospitals and other services provided by the trust. 

Kofi Quartey: Former Army Medical Corp – Now Project Manager at Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Ex Royal Army Medical Corp (RAMC). He was a Combat Medic Technician (CMT) and served with various regiments across the country. During his service he deployed to Kenya, Cyprus, Canada and to Afghanistan.  A medical discharge saw Kofi leave the Army in 2014. He attended the pilot of the Step into Health programme in 2014 at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital and following this joined the NHS.  He was pleased to find that he had joined an organisation which valued his leadership qualities, team building abilities and practical knowledge. Kofi is a passionate advocate for the military community and has supported the Step into Health programme in Hampshire.  Kofi is currently a project manager at Hampshire Hospitals, responsible for the GP Streaming and the Sepsis CQUIN.

More on the scheme:

Trusts who have pledged their support to the programme have signed up to a minimum commitment of:

  • advertising apprenticeship opportunities through the Career Transition Partnership (CTP) and their RightJob board
  • nominating a point of contact within the organisation that members of the Armed Forces community can contact directly
  • reviewing current recruitment practices and removing any barriers to recruiting members of the Armed Forces community
  • using the Step into Health branding to promote consistent messages about the programme.

There are then a series of enhancing activity pledges that organisations can make. The website gives more details:  

  • NHS Employers is part of the NHS Confederation charity and supports employers to put patients first. It provides a voice for employers on national policy decisions, produces up-to-date guidance for leaders and managers and leads on national pay negotiation
  • The NHS Confederation represents 85 per cent of NHS providers and commissioners. The organisation has nearly 500 members across health and social care, including hospitals, community and mental health providers, ambulance trusts and independent sector organisations providing NHS care. It is the only membership body to bring together and speak on behalf of the whole NHS.
  • Follow Danny Mortimer on Twitter @NHSE_Danny. Or follow NHS Employers @nhsemployers or the NHS Confederation press office @NHSConfed_Press.
  • A full list of NHS Employers press releases and statements can be accessed at its media centre
  • For media queries, contact Neil Durham (Media and Communications Manager - 020 7799 8671 / or Charlotte George (Senior Media Officer - 020 7799 8664 / For out-of-hours media enquiries, please call the Duty Press Officer on 07880 500 726.

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