Lincolnshire’s hospitals awarded Gold for their commitment to the Armed Forces

United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT) has received the highest recognition for its commitment to supporting the Armed Forces community.

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The Trust has been accredited Gold in the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme, joining 700 organisations nationally that have pledged, demonstrated or advocated support to defence or the Armed Forces community.

The news comes in the same week as the Trust received reaccreditation to Veteran Aware for recognising continued support to the Armed Forces community.

Some of the achievements for the Trust that have been recognised by the awarding bodies include signing the Armed Forces Covenant, assessing policies and procedures to ensure they are forces friendly such as additional paid leave for Reservists and Cadet Force Adult Volunteers, flexible working options, offering the Guaranteed Interview Scheme and ‘Step into Health’ days and placements for the UK Armed Forces Community, providing staff with training opportunities to learn about the needs of veterans.

The Trust’s growing Armed Forces Staff Network also provides for those with a connection to the Armed Forces with opportunities to socialise with those with a similar background, and advocates for trustwide positive changes for the community inside and outside our hospitals.

Network and executive leads of the Armed Forces STaff Network at ULHTSteve Martin, Patient Safety Improvement Programme Manager and Armed Forces Staff Network lead, joined the NHS after serving in the Armed Forces. He said: “I’m exceptionally proud of the work we have done to ensure our hospitals are a forces friendly place for members of the Armed Forces, Veterans, Cadet Force Adult Volunteers, military spouses or family members, and that they do not experience any disadvantage or inequality.

“We are honoured to be the first NHS Trust in Lincolnshire to achieve the Gold Award, and we will continue our ambitions to be a forces friendly organisation for our armed forces community to work and receive care, while strengthening our relationships with our military neighbours across the county to explore mutually beneficial opportunities to support each other.”

Michelle Harris, Chief Operating Officer and Executive Sponsor for the Armed Forces Staff Network, said: “The Gold Defence Employer Recognition scheme is the highest level of accreditation available, and I’m exceptionally proud of the work carried out by our Armed Forces Staff Network in conjunction with other areas of the Trust including HR and recruitment to be awarded this recognition.

“Lincolnshire has a long history with the Armed Forces, with around 12% of the population having a connection to the military. Regulars, Reservists, Veterans, Cadet Forces Adult Volunteers have skills that can be a real asset to us at ULHT, and we’re committed to ensure they and their families have the support and flexibility they need to build fulfilling careers with us.”