Previously, South Tyneside and City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trusts had signed the covenant individually and have now pledged support as the new single Trust.
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.