Reservists Host Clinical Conference at NHS Golden Jubilee

A Reservist from 205 Scottish Field Hospital outlines her travel and training opportunities

On Saturday 4 March Reservists from 205 (Scottish) Field Hospital welcomed guests to the NHS Golden Jubilee Conference Hotel for their Clinical Study Day.

‘Today’s conference is a “Building the Network” event with our NHS colleagues,’ explained Major Karen Tait, 205 (Scottish) Field Hospital’s Executive Officer. ‘A lot of the Reservists in our unit work within the NHS so today is an opportunity to get to know each other better, as well as to share what we do in our respective sectors.

‘The link between the Armed Forces and the NHS is hugely important. I’ve served on operational tours and seen the clinical expertise at work on the frontlines, and none of it would be possible without the skills and resilience gained through working in the NHS.’

The conference opened with a warm welcome from the unit’s Commanding Officer Colonel Ant Millsop, who praised NHS Scotland’s commitment to supporting Defence people. This sentiment was echoed by John Burns, NHS Scotland’s Chief Operating Officer, who spoke highly of the ‘service before self’ and spirit of ‘mutual benefit and respect’ evident in the working relationship between the NHS and the Armed Forces.

Reservists and civilian guests mingling over coffee before the start of the Clinical Skills conference

Since receiving the Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) Gold Award in 2014, NHS Scotland has proven itself to be a shining example of a Forces-friendly employer. To highlight the extent of the organisation’s support for the Defence community, Mr Burns had the pleasure of accepting a second Gold Award revalidation on behalf of NHS Scotland in December 2022 (read more about that here).

Following on from the welcome addresses, conference attendees enjoyed a series of talks from serving 205 (Scottish) Field Hospital Reservists outlining the various training and travel opportunities they have enjoyed. Major Stacy Weir, who dialled in to the conference from the Falkland Islands, championed this and spoke fondly of expeditions to Kenya and Jordan. Other themes covered throughout the morning included First Aid for Military Working Dogs, mobilisation during the COVID-19 pandemic and leadership training. The speakers were also keen to highlight the breadth of skills and experiences they have gained through their NHS careers, emphasising the transferability of their skills between their military and civilian lives.

‘The talks today have all been very interesting,’ said Richard Smith, a Health Improvement Officer at NHS Dumfries & Galloway and keen advocate for the Armed Forces within the organisation. ‘The variety of subjects has been fascinating and it’s been great to hear the speakers share the different opportunities they have beyond their medical work as Reservists.’

All the speakers from the morning session return to the stage for a Q&A.

The afternoon was dedicated to a Clinical Presentations competition, in which ten guest speakers were challenged to deliver a seven-minute lecture followed by a two-minute Q&A on a clinical subject of their choosing. The presentations were judged by an expert panel and the prize on offer was a pair of tickets to this year’s Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. After covering an array of topics ranging from Botulism outbreaks to A Day in the Life of a NHS Support Manager, the award went to Sergeant Mark Yates, who delivered an insightful study on improving eye care quality in Intensive Care Units.

Rounding off the event was a keynote speech from Brigadier Phil de Rouffignac, Commander 2nd Medical Brigade. The Brigadier once again emphasised the immense value of a strong working relationship between the healthcare and Defence sectors, drawing on the event hashtag #BuildingTheNetwork. 

‘I feel that today has gone really well,’ said Colonel Millsop at the close of the conference. ‘It’s been great to have our NHS colleagues here as they employ so many of our people. We’ve had some brilliant speakers and a fantastic range of presentations throughout the day, and I think it’s set a firm baseline for future events.’

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