Yeovil Hospital has been awarded gold status in the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme Awards. The Award represents the highest badge of honour and is a Government Award for the support an organisation gives to its veterans and their families.

To win an award from the Ministry of Defence, organisations must show that they provide 10 extra paid days leave for reservists and have supportive HR policies in place for veterans, reserves, Cadet Force adult volunteers and 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 others to sign the Armed Forces Covenant and engage in the Employer Recognition Scheme.

Yeovil Hospital has strong links with the armed forces and works hard to support serving colleagues, veterans and family members.

Ric Allhusen, Security Manager at Yeovil Hospital said: “As a Veteran, this is a fantastic achievement. It clearly shows the Trust’s support to all Veterans, both working in the Trust and for those seeking the transition from the Armed Forces to civilian life. The Gold banding also supports our Reserve and Cadet forces by ensuring the participants receive the extra time allowed them to make this important commitment.”

Somerset FT also received gold award status, and chief nurse for both trusts, Hayley Peters, shared how proud she was of this latest award: “Achieving The Defence ERS gold award is a huge achievement for our trusts, and for our joint Armed Forces and Veteran colleague network. We know that many of our NHS colleagues in Somerset have links to the armed forces – just within the colleague network, we have 39 veterans, six reservists, and 19 family members or spouses of serving personnel. I have a personal connection to the armed forces, with my son currently serving and my husband having served previously, and we know there will be many more colleagues across our trusts who also have their own personal links to the forces.

“Ensuring support is in place for these colleagues is really important, enabling them to honour their military commitments, and provide safe spaces for them to share their experiences. Our strong relationship with 243 (The Wessex) Field Hospital also enables us to promote reservist opportunities to colleagues and attend armed forces recruitment events, raising awareness of the transferable benefits of reservists and NHS careers to individuals and their employers.

“As well as supporting our colleagues, we are proud that both trusts have Veteran Aware status. This means that we have a number of initiatives in place to support former and current military personnel, and their families, when they access care through our services.”

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