NHS Director challenges colleagues to recruit from the military

Ann McIntyre, Director of Workforce at Guy’s and St Thomas’s NHS Foundation Trust (GSST), is challenging NHS managers to recruit people with more diverse backgrounds, including from the military.

She said that IT, HR, Engineering, Operational and Project Management are ideal departments for people with no healthcare experience.

Ann McIntyre made her comments at the NHS Step into Health (SiTH) Armed Forces Showcase Event, which was at 256 Field Hospital in London on Thursday 22nd June. The event promoted the employment opportunities in the NHS for people leaving the Armed Forces. The NHS is the largest employer in the world. NHS in London has 100,000 employees, and its 12% staff turnover provides work mobility and opportunity.

The benefits to the NHS of recruiting ex-military Personnel were supported by the other speakers. Staynton Brown, Director of Equality and Human Rights at GSST, explained that the NHS and military share the following characteristics:

  • Belief in respect, loyalty and integrity
  • Challenging, rewarding and varied work
  • Complex rules, regulations and bureaucracy
  • Concern for public wellbeing
  • Hierarchical structure
  • Large multi-disciplinary teams
  • Need for strong leadership
  • Self motivated and hard working staff.

With an ageing population and increasing major IT projects, Staynton Brown said it is vital that the NHS employs people with a broad range of skills and experiences to ensure a first class service for patients.

The Head of Military Engagement at BT, Mark Arscott, left the Army in 2015. He spoke about the success of BT’s military programme and how it benefits from employing ex-military personnel. Ex military personnel have a higher retention rate; are more likely to be promoted and take 40% less sick leave. The role of ‘Head of Military Engagement’ was started by Mark in 2015 and BT is now considered to be a leading employer of veterans in the UK. BT’s Armed Forces Network has 956 members, offering peer support and mentoring, including for anyone in transition.

Caroline Waterfield, the Head of Employment Services at NHS Employers, closed the event by reiterating that the NHS is looking at making make the SiTH scheme sustainable. The NHS wants to provide training and education to hiring managers, so they consider candidates from outside the Health sector, including those with a military background.

Lisa Jones, OA Career Consultant, attended the event to promote how we can support transitioning officers looking for careers in the NHS.