Reserve Forces and Cadets Association
for North of England

Sunderland Hospitals Strike Gold

The Ministry of Defence recently announced the new winners of the Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) Gold Awards, and City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Trust was named as one of the top performers. 

The Gold Award is the highest badge of honour for organisations which have signed the Armed Forces Covenant and demonstrated outstanding support for those who serve and have served. City Hospitals Sunderland signed the Covenant in April this year, and is the only North East Trust to be awarded Gold.

The ERS Awards recognise employers who actively support the Armed Forces community in their workplace and also encourage others to follow their lead. The award scheme, which attracts entries from companies in every part of the country and in the private and public sectors, has seen a rapid increase in participation since it launched in 2014.

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said, “These companies have shown the gold standard of commitment to supporting members of the Armed Forces, veterans, and their families. They have taken meaningful steps to ensure the Defence community are not disadvantaged by the sacrifice they make in helping keep this country safe. The actions of these employers make it crystal clear that regardless of size, location, or sector, employing people with military skills is good for business.”

Commenting on their Gold status, Ken Bremner, Chief Executive of the Sunderland Trust, said, "We are honoured to have been recognised by the Ministry of Defence for the work we do to support the Armed Forces. It is important for us to recognise the contribution made particularly by our staff who also serve as reservists and we very much value the extra skills and experience that they bring to the Trust. We also employ a number of veterans and are looking at initiatives that will provide work experience placement opportunities and guaranteed interviews where they have skills that match a role. We welcome the support of the Ministry of Defence and hope to continue to foster relationships to encourage more organisations to follow this same ethos."

Alex Cairns, a Staff Nurse at the Trust and a serving reservist with 201 (Northern) Field Hospital, added, "When I joined the Trust I was identified as a reservist very early on. I was contacted by the Trust who very kindly informed me that there was a policy regarding annual leave for Army Training camps, and other such events related to Army Reserves. The Trust, alongside my Ward Managers, has been very supportive of my role within the Army Reserves, and has approached my off duty with the flexibility needed to allow me to perform my Army Reserve duties. In addition to this we have a number of other Army Reservists within the Trust, which is steadily increading, and which only furthers the understanding and awareness of other Army Reserves within the NHS and the Trust. The Trust regularly advertises Army events on their social media pages and supports the Army Reserves wherever possible."

For a full list of Employer Recognition Scheme Gold, Silver and Bronze winners, go to:

Sunderland NHS Covenant Signing Group