Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust has reinforced its commitment to support British military personnel, by becoming a forces’ friendly organisation.

The voluntary pledge was signed by chief executive, Debbie Richards at this month’s board of directors’ meeting.

“Cornwall has a long and proud association with the military. Making this pledge aims to ensure we provide the best possible care for veterans, military personnel, and their families.

“As the county’s provider of community based physical health services and mental health care, and with several military bases locally it’s vital we improve the care of veterans whenever possible, considering their specific physical or psychological health needs – for the benefit of our patients and staff with military connections.

“Our commitment also extends to the employment of veterans through the career transition partnership, as well as to their spouses and partners. We employ veterans in a variety of roles and I’m keen to see more areas of the Trust benefit from their unique skillset.”

The Trust’s signature on the covenant was endorsed by the county’s Lord Lieutenant, Colonel Edward Bolitho.

“I’m delighted the Trust is signing the covenant. Both organisations have a good deal in common, sharing the same service before self attitude.

“It’s absolutely right and important that we support our armed forces in recognition of all they do for us. They have a range of skills they can offer employers: loyalty, discipline, teamwork, confidence, and problem solving. Signing the covenant will not only bring benefits to the armed forces community but closer contact with an excellent potential workforce for the Trust.”

Before signing the covenant, the board of directors heard from Jamie, a member of Trust staff who recently made the transition to the NHS.

Jamie joined the Trust in March 2020, just 3 weeks before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, having previously served for almost 23 years in the Royal Air Force.

“This was one of the biggest decisions I’ve ever had to make, but it was the right decision for my family. However, the unique lifestyle within the armed forces can make the transition into a civilian workforce really scary.

“The covenant isn’t about putting veterans ahead of anyone else but acknowledging their unique background and that they may need help, support and training to help them bring their skills and experience into the Trust.”

The Trust has set up a working group to focus on initiatives which will positively everyone with a link to the armed forces as it works towards becoming accredited with the Veterans Covenant Healthcare Alliance.