Published on: 1 July 2019

South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust marked Reserves Day today (Wednesday June 26th) with a celebratory lunch for its own reservists in recognition of the contribution they make to the Armed Forces.

The occasion also provided the opportunity for the Trust to sign the Armed Forces Covenant. This represents the nation’s commitment to supporting those who serve or who have served by treating them fairly to give them equal access to everything from healthcare, education and starting a new career to financial assistance and having a home. Previously, South Tyneside and City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trusts had signed the covenant individually but the organisations merged in April this year. In addition, the Trust reaffirmed its commitment to the Step into Health programme, which offers a route into employment and other career development opportunities in the NHS to members of the Armed Forces community.

The Reserve Forces make up approximately one sixth of Armed Forces personnel, with medical reservists forming 13% of the overall reserves in the UK. However, their contribution often goes unrecognised and the annual Reserves Day was created to highlight the valuable part they play. The Trust currently has eight employees who are reservists in the Army, as well as an adult volunteer with the RAF Air Cadets.

Chief Executive Ken Bremner said: “The Reserve Forces are crucial to protecting the nation’s security at home and overseas and their capability in specialist areas such as medicine is particularly important. We are very proud of our own reservists who have to balance their civilian and military lives and who give up their spare time to serve. We owe them a huge debt of gratitude and we wanted to show them that we recognise the valuable contribution that they make

“We value the transferable skills and cultural values that Armed Forces personnel develop, which are so compatible with working in the NHS, and we are constantly looking at initiatives that will provide work placement opportunities and guaranteed interviews for people with skills that match a role.”

South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust is a staunch Armed

Forces-friendly employer. As well as being signed up to the Armed Forces Covenant, it holds the Ministry of Defence’s Employer Recognition Gold Award - the highest badge of honour available to those that employ and support those who serve, as well as veterans, and their families.