Frimley Health has achieved the gold standard for supporting the armed forces community.
The trust has been recognised with a Gold Award in the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS).
The Ministry of Defence programme recognises employers that pledge, demonstrate or advocate support to defence and align their values to the Armed Forces Covenant, a promise by the nation that the armed forced community will be treated fairly.
To win a Gold award, organisations must provide 10 extra paid days leave for reservists and have supportive HR policies in place for reservists, veterans, Cadet Force adult volunteers and the spouses and partners of those serving in the armed forces.
They must also advocate the benefits of supporting those within the armed forces community, by encouraging other organisations to sign the Armed Forces Covenant and engage with the ERS.
Frimley Health signed the covenant in 2017 and achieved the ERS Silver Award a year later. It reaffirmed its commitment by signing the covenant again in 2021.
The trust employs many armed forces reservists as well as veterans and retired military personnel who have taken up full-time roles in the NHS. Veterans applying for employment at Frimley Health are guaranteed an interview if they meet the criteria for the role.
The trust employs an Armed Forces Covenant lead, Kerry Gospel, who supports veterans and reservists and works with external agencies including regimental associations, councils and military-civilian partnerships to promote opportunities in the NHS.
Frimley Park Hospital has a 27-year partnership with the military and hosts service personnel from the Joint Hospital Group (South East). Since 1996 more than 1,000 armed forces staff have worked shoulder to shoulder with NHS colleagues across numerous departments.
The Defence Employer Recognition Scheme, delivered by Defence Relationship Management, has a current total of 641 holders. Organisations must reapply every five years to retain their Gold Award status.