South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS) Invites Military Inspection

On Wednesday 7 September, South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS) mustered the Military for a special event where existing Military service personnel could find out more about the career opportunities on offer at SCAS and meet some of the Trust’s ex-Services staff who had swapped one uniform for the green of the ambulance service.

This was the first event SCAS held in conjunction with the Career Transition Partnership (CTP) – the Ministry of Defence’s official provider of Armed Forces resettlement – and was attended by around 20 people from across the armed Services. On hand on the day were members of staff from SCAS’ frontline emergency 999 service, the Trust’s non-emergency patient transport service, along with members of the education and recruitment teams.

One of those hosting the event, which was held at SCAS’ North Harbour Resource Centre in Portsmouth, was Paramedic Team Leader, Ross Smith.

Ross, entered the Forces aged 16, and served both in the Army and Royal Air Force, saw action in the First Iraq War and finished his Service with a three-year posting to the Queen’s Flight.

“I initially joined SCAS as a trainee technician, became a technician after 12 months and a fully qualified paramedic two years after that. I didn’t have any medical training, apart from the usual basic first aid training all Armed Forces personnel receive, but that hasn’t held me back. I’ve developed my career in SCAS since joining and today I am a Paramedic Team Leader, managing a team of approximately 20 staff, and have a degree.”

Ross talked about his own experiences to Forces personnel attending the event, and was able to discuss some of the worries and fears of those leaving, or considering leaving, Military service having gone through the same process himself. Feedback from those who attended confirmed what a valuable event it was for everyone concerned.

Andrew, from the Royal Engineers, said: “Today has really galvanised what I want to do. Through everything I have heard today, I know where I want to be; on the frontline, and I can’t wait to get started.”

“I came in today”, adds Lewis from the 4th Battalion The Rifles, “as I wanted to speak to real paramedics and how they feel about working for the ambulance service, as well as an opportunity to see some kit and equipment. It’s given me more information to make an informed decision about my future.”

SCAS has a number of ex-Military staff working across the organisation, including the current Chief Operating Officer, Philip Astle, who enjoyed a 30-year Military career, seeing action in the Falklands Conflict, Northern Ireland, the Balkans, both Gulf Wars and Afghanistan.

“My experience and knowledge of teamwork and how to get the right people, to the right place with the right kit, led me in this direction to the ambulance service”, Philip adds. “The step from the Military into the NHS, particularly the ambulance service, is a really natural one. You go from one organisation that works in teams, that is uniformed and proud to serve and where people are willing to put their wellbeing and efforts into helping others, into another that operates exactly the same way. It’s a very gentle transition and I’d recommend anyone to make that step as I, and lots of other ex-Services personnel here at SCAS, have done.”

There has never been a better time to join SCAS as the Trust has recently been rated as ‘Good’ by the Care Quality Commission (CQC); the first ambulance trust in the country to receive such a rating.

CQC inspectors observed in their report on SCAS that the Trust has the most caring, compassionate and dedicated staff and highlighted the Non-Emergency Patient Transport Service as delivering outstanding care to its patients as staff developed supportive and trusted relationships with its regular users.

There are a range of vacancies and career opportunities in our clinical co-ordination centres, on our emergency and non-emergency ambulance services, as well as in our logistics and support services. SCAS can therefore ensure that ex-military recruits not only use their skills and experience to help patients across the four counties we serve, but will be given all the support, training and development to take the next stage of their career as far as their aspirations want.

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