On Tuesday 2 March, George Eliot Hospital signed the armed forces covenant - committing the hospital to the principle that no member of the Armed Forces community should face disadvantage in the provision of health care compared to any other citizen.
The virtual signing ceremony took place at the hospital’s public Board meeting in the presence of Brigadier Tim Hodgetts CBE QHS, Head of the Army’s Medical Services, and Lt Col. Guy Benson from the Veterans Covenant Healthcare Alliance - a group of more than 50 providers aiming to improve the healthcare veterans receive from the NHS.
By signing the covenant, the hospital promises to be an Armed Forces-friendly organisation to its staff, patients, suppliers, contractors and the wider public.
It also includes specific pledges:
- To support the employment of Service spouses and partners; partnering with the Forces Families Jobs Forum; and providing flexibility in granting leave for Service spouses and partners before, during and after a partner’s deployment.
- To support employees who are members of the Reserve Forces; granting additional paid/unpaid leave for annual Reserve Forces training; supporting any mobilisations and deployment; actively encouraging members of staff to become Reservists;
- To support employees who are volunteer leaders in military cadet organisations, granting additional leave to attend annual training camps and courses; actively encouraging members of staff to become volunteer leaders in cadet organisations; supporting local military cadet units; recognising the benefits of employing cadets/ex-cadets within the workforce
- To mark Armed Forces Day, Reserves Day, the Poppy Appeal Day and Remembrance activities; and support Armed Forces charities
Managing Director David Eltringham said: “The Covenant is about removing disadvantage so that members of the Armed Forces get the same access to services as the civilian community. It was an honour to see the covenant signed and we are proud to support our Armed Forces. Our thanks go to Brigadier Hodgetts and Lt Col. Benson for joining us at this significant moment.”
Brigadier Hodgetts said: “It was a great privilege to be part of this event where the Trust is committing to the values and standards of the Armed Forces Covenant. A real heartfelt thank you to George Eliot Hospital – the Armed Forces absolutely commends your commitment to it.”
Lieutenant Colonel Guy Benson added: “A positive relationship between the George Eliot Hospital, and indeed with all NHS Trusts, and the armed forces is vital. We all recognise the huge contribution that both the military community and NHS personnel bring to the county and we encourage and work together to build integrated and supportive local communities, while at the same time providing world-class patient treatment, both here in Warwickshire and the rest of the Country.