Reserve Forces and Veterans Support for Staff

armed forces

207 Field Hospital Webinar - March 2 2021

The 207 Field Hospital are hosting a recruitment webinar for potential medical reservists on 2nd March - and you're invited to join the session.

The Field Hospital is the region's local army medical reserves and they are actively recruiting Orthopaedic Consultants, theatre nurses and sisters and ITU/ICU consultants and nurses.

The webinar will take place on 2nd March at 6pm. Anyone wishing to attend the event should register their interest by e-mailing:

View the 207 Field Hospital Recruitment Poster 

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

Celebrating our Armed Forces personnel

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.

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.”


Silver award for support to the Armed Forces community

The Northern Care Alliance has been awarded silver under the Ministry of Defence Employer Recognition Scheme for their support to defence and the wider Armed Forces community.

The Employer Recognition Scheme was launched to reward employers who support Defence People objectives and encourage others to do the same.

This includes employing serving and former members of the Armed Forces community, and demonstrating flexibility towards training and mobilisation commitments for Reservists and Cadet Force Adult Volunteers.

Read more here:

Royal British Legion Veterans Support- Veterans Gateway

The Veterans’ Gateway is made up of a consortium of organisations and Armed Forces charities, including The Royal British Legion, SSAFA – the Armed Forces charity, Poppyscotland, Combat Stress and Connect Assist. Connections with additional key referral organisations – both within and outside the Armed Forces sector – means we can get you to the right organisation who can help. Funded by The Armed Forces Covenant, this is the first time a group of this kind has come together formally to deliver a service to help the Armed Forces community.

The Gateway is the first point of contact for whatever support you need, whether you are based in the UK or abroad. Many of our team are veterans themselves so they understand the issues that people face after leaving the Armed Forces. They work with people on a one-to-one basis, connecting them with the right support as soon as possible.Please follow the link below for further information and contact details

Calling all Staff Reservists and Veterans - Your Trust Needs You!

NHS Employers has launched a new champions' scheme in partnership with the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the Department of Health.

The scheme has been created to increase the awareness of reservists within the NHS, and to highlight the benefits that employing reservists can have for organisations and employers.

The Northern Care Alliance NHS Group's Reserve Forces Champion is Mr Allan Cordwell, Head of Emergency Planning, Resilience & Response Unit.

The Champions role supports reservists by achieving the following:

  • Displaying their contact details on the NHS Employers reserve forces footprint map, which also provides the contact details of local military units and the local defence relationship management contact
  • Highlighting their position to the reservists within their organisation
  • Encouraging their organisation to apply for, and achieve, the different award levels of the employer recognition scheme (ERS) 
  • Encouraging their organisation to sign the armed forces covenant
  • Sharing relevant links and good practice via the NHS Employers and MoD websites, on their internet/intranet, as well as talking to colleagues about supporting reservists
  • Sharing information, which will be supplied by NHS Employers, on how their organisation supports reservists at recruitment and induction stages.

Mr Cordwell stated ‘The role is a very interesting one, and as a reservists veteran myself, I am fully aware how beneficial  military training and deployment can be both for the individual employee and the Trust itself. ‘The first objective is to compile an upto date list of how many reservists and veterans we actually have working for us in the Trust. To this end, please can any reservist currently working in the Trust, confirm their line manager is aware of their role and then contact myself either via email or telephone.

Tel: 0161-656-1927 (Int:71927)

Once we have the database complete we will be holding events across the Trust to facilitate networking and allow managers to meet serving reservists and to highlight the role of the new Defence Medical Welfare Service which is based, and supported by EPRRU,in the Resilience Centre at The Royal Oldham Hospital.’ We will be also forging links with the Royal British Legion and other veterans support groups and charities.

Useful Links

Employing reservists in the NHS

Armed Forces Day  - 26th June 2020