Published on: 27 October 2022

Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has been awarded The Defence Employer Recognition Scheme silver award, which recognises the Trust’s ongoing commitment to our armed forces community, as an employer. 

The Trust was recognised for its willingness to recruit and support veterans, reservists, cadet force adult volunteers and military family members.

The Defence Employer Recognition Awards have been launched by the Government to encourage employers to support defence and the armed forces, and inspire others to do the same. The scheme includes bronze, silver and gold awards for employer organisations that pledge, demonstrate or advocate support to defence and the armed forces community, and align their values with the Armed Forces Covenant.

Derbyshire Healthcare was recognised for its pledge to demonstrate and advocate support to those in defence and from the armed forces community – this included:

  • signing the Armed Forces Covenant, which the Trust did in 2018
  • proactively demonstrating that service personnel/armed forces community are not unfairly disadvantaged as part of the recruiting and selection processes – which the Trust has ensured through its Guaranteed Interview Scheme for members of the armed forces community
  • actively ensuring that the workforce is aware of the positive policies towards defence people issues. For example, by having an internally publicised and positive HR policy on supporting Reservists working in the Trust.
  • ensuring that HR polices include special leave for military spouses and immediate family members.
  • a collaborative working relationship with the local reserve unit offering mutual support on events such as Armistice and The Falklands Remembrance.

Justine Fitzjohn, Trust Secretary and Executive Sponsor for the Trust’s Armed Forces Community Staff Network at Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are proud to join other NHS Trusts that have also received their silver status.

“We hope to demonstrate the importance of the Armed Forces and celebrate those who have served or are serving as we speak.

“A special thank you to our fantastic Armed Forces Staff Network too for their ongoing dedication to this community and wanting to go above and beyond.”

Gemma Saunders, Cognitive Behavioural Therapist and Network Chair of the Trust’s Armed Forces Staff Network, was pleased to have received this award.

Gemma said: “The armed forces community deserve to be treated respectfully and fairly by their employer.  We recognise that they have so much to offer with their transferable skill set.  I would like to thank the Trust and the communities we serve for their commitment in achieving this silver award.

“After submitting the silver entry, we were highly commended and advised to strive for gold standard next year – something we are already working towards.”

The awards ceremony was held at the University of Northampton on Thursday 6 October 2022 – the Trust will apply for gold status next year.