Celebrating our armed forces with armed forces week - 22-28 June 2020

Armed Forces Day 2020
Celebrating our armed forces with armed forces week - 22-28 June 2020
23 June 2020

This Armed Forces week 2020, we celebrate the contribution current and former military personnel have made to our fight against covid-19.

Armed Forces Week traditionally offers the public the chance to discover more about the work of the UK Armed Forces with each day dedicated to celebrating a different part of the military.

This year, most events are virtual, but we still want to acknowledge and recognise all the amazing Reservists, Veterans, Service Families and Cadet Force Adult Volunteers who make up part of our NCA Family.

Back in 2018, the Northern Care Alliance signed the Armed Forces Covenant, pledging to become an Armed Forces friendly organisation and supporting the employment of veterans young and old, at all of our hospitals. We also pledged to support the family, partners and spouses of those serving in the Armed Forces.

Raj Jain, Chief Executive Officer at the Northern Care Alliance NHS Group, said: "This week we recognise the outstanding contribution current and former military personnel have made in the fight against Covid-19 across the NHS.

"Our reservists and veterans work in a variety of roles across our hospitals and in the community. They do a fantastic job and play such a vital role. The transfer of skills between the NHS, the reservists themselves in terms of personal development, and the armed forces are beneficial to all. We are proud to have so many reservists and veterans as colleagues, working extremely hard in our teams to keep our patients safe, secure and in providing the very best care we can. Thank you for all that you do.

"As an Armed Forces friendly organisation we continue to support the employment of veterans young and old across our NCA group as part of the Armed Forces Covenant."

You can read about how our former and current military staff are going above and beyond below:

Allan Cordwell, Head of NCA Group Emergency Planning, Resilience & Response Unit (EPRRU) & Reserve Forces Champion

Allan trained as an ED Charge Nurse and was an Army reservist deployed operationally in Iraq in 2003. Having served with 202 and 207 Field Hospitals in Iraq; he has first-hand experience of the difficulties and hurdles veterans and retirees from Her Majesty’s Forces can endure.

This experience has consolidated a combination of both civilian and military skill sets which he has used to enhanced and influence the development of the NCA Group EPRRU into a nationally and internationally recognised service, delivering highly effective and ground breaking preparatory and response training, supporting the NCA to mitigate a number of recent Major Incidents, the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and daily operational running.

Allan is also our Reserve Forces Champion. Our reservists and veterans work in a variety of roles across our Care Organisations and are not solely medical and nursing staff. The transfer of skills between the NHS, the reservist themselves in terms of personal development, and the armed forces are beneficial to all.

Allan said:

“While we can’t celebrate in the way we’d like to this year, we can still recognise the important role the NHS plays in supporting the armed forces and, also, how those who commit to serving as a reservist, bring a unique and positive experience back into our Care organisations to enhance our values and behaviours.”

John Thornhill, Registered Nurse Critical Care, Assistant National Parade Marshal, The Royal British Legion & RRMT 207 (Manchester) Field Hospital, QARANC

John has worked at Fairfield General Hospital since he was 17 years of age. After qualifying as a registered nurse, he began work on critical care where he remains to this day.

John has been working on Apollo 11, where the sickest patients with covid-19 have been treated.

John is a serving reservist, having joined in his first year of his nursing degree. He is a member of Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps (QARANC), 207 Field Hospital.

Currently in 207 he has two roles. Firstly, he is the second in command (2ic) for the intensive care unit of the field hospital. Secondly, on a more regular/weekly basis he works for the Recruitment Retention and Mentoring Team (RRMT) as a junior non-commissioned officer (JNCO).

John is responsible for recruiting healthcare professionals to join the army reserves so they can get the both of best worlds out of the military and the NHS.

John said:

“Applying to be a reservist is by far one of the best decisions I have made. I am an immensely proud member of Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps.

“During my time in 207 I have been fortunate enough to have many positive experiences. For example, being part of field hospital exercises, both in the UK and abroad. Working with allied nations such as the USA and engaging with both our reserve and regular counterparts.

“During the covid-19 pandemic, the skills that I and other reservists within the NCA have learnt from our time within 207 have been directly transferable to our clinical practice within the NHS, for example, setting up a covid-19 intensive care unit with members of the team and multiple training for staff members not working in critical care.

“Armed Forces Day 2020 will be quite different this year compared to previous. We would normally have time to celebrate, catch up and reflect with everyone. However, this year I am sure we will try and celebrate in the best way possible.”