This article has been submitted by RFCA
Now in its fifth year, the Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) Gold Awards represent the highest badge of honour available to businesses and organisations who salute and support the armed forces community.
Cardiff & Vale University Health Board (UHB) was one of four Welsh recipients of 2018 ERS Gold Awards. They were selected for showing outstanding support to the Armed Forces Covenant, a promise from the nation ensuring that those who serve or have served are treated fairly.
Along with 49 other employers from across the United Kingdom, Cardiff & Vale UHB’s long-term and comprehensive commitment has now been formally recognised. What measures have they taken and how could your employer follow in their footsteps?
Specialist health care: Through the Armed Forces Forum, Cardiff & Vale UHB’s dedicated team ensure a partnership work plan brings together many varied groups who are all committed to improving care and providing support to the armed forces community.
Their hands-on and wide ranging approach covers high level strategic roles and high quality services for patients and health care professionals. This includes; clinical leadership for Veterans NHS Wales’ mental health care, a fast track pathway for Service personnel to access NHS services in a timely manner and specialist consultant orthopaedic surgery for injured military personnel.
Employment opportunities and support: The University Hospital of Wales has recently been confirmed as the major trauma centre for Wales, which will enable them to progress plans with the armed forces for trauma employment opportunities for medical, nursing and associated staff.
In a separate initiative, Cardiff & Vale UHB have also recently received additional investment from the Welsh Government to employ more clinical psychologists to specifically help veterans.
Identifying the talent pool of capable and adaptable veterans, Cardiff & Vale UHB are currently developing roles for apprentices and will be promoting the opportunities to veteran networks. They have been active at recent Armed Forces Day celebrations to recruit more veterans with transferable skills to roles within the NHS.
Recognising reservists: Cardiff & Vale UHB look after their workforce by giving 10 days of paid leave for reservists to attend annual camps and other training commitments. Reservists are also helped by flexible work rosters and assisted in their preparation for demobilisation and reintegration back in to the workplace.
They are in the process of establishing a reservists recruiting team to make positive links with the local community and have considered buddy-up opportunities for ex-Service personnel to meet up with staff who have also served, so they can support each other in their respective employment.
Digital innovation: Health care professionals working for Cardiff & Vale UHB have benefitted from the Service Directory, an interactive online resource which has been developed to geo-locate veteran patients and pinpoint them to the best suited local services to meet their needs.
A map of needs is sent to partners on a regular basis and it’s combined with call centre data from the Royal British Legion to populate the Service Directory reports. Health care professionals are able to see a ‘heat map’ of where services are most used and better understand the needs and priorities of veterans.
Cardiff & Vale UHB has also designed specific E-Learning modules for General Practitioners (GPs) and patient-facing staff to undertake. This training was put in place to educate GPs and their colleagues in Primary Care about the specific needs of veterans.
Advocacy: Keen to encourage other organisations and employers to become forces friendly, Cardiff & Vale UHB has supported St Fagans National Museum of History to sign the Armed Forces Covenant and put together an exhibition on the military history of healthcare to mark the NHS’ 70th anniversary.
Cardiff & Vale UHB has signed up to the Veterans Covenant Hospital Alliance UK and regularly link with the national group. It has also commissioned Public Health Wales to undertake a population needs assessment for veterans throughout the country.
Interested in signing the Armed Forces Covenant? Contact Audrey Nealon, Regional Employer Engagement Director at the Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association (RFCA) for Wales today:
Phone: 07970 493086
Email: [email protected]