Learning from the RAF: a chair's reflection

lincolnshire blog

Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust is very supportive of reservists in their workforce. At the start of their journey they created a reservist’s workforce group and then signed the Armed Forces Covenant in October 2016, which has helped them to be the employer of choice for reservists.

In this blog, Paul Devlin, chair of Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, shares his experience of his first reservist event since their recent signing of the covenant.

On a chilly morning in October, having got up early and managing to just miss a deer that leapt out in front of my car, I drove over to Lincolnshire. I was heading to RAF Coningsby for an Air Combat Power event, along with a group of local employers, and many RAF reservists.

As someone with no background or connections to the military whatsoever, the day was pretty unique for me. I learned a great deal as I went from display tent to display tent, including how a new version of a helicopter improves on the previous model; the importance of logistics support when troops are in action; how learning from incidents where planes are damaged gives insight into improvements; that the RAF has a bomb disposal team, and also a team that put bombs together.

I saw a number of planes, including getting into a Hercules C-130 carrier and learning about the different types of parachute available to the RAF, depending on the situation they were going into and the height and distance from a target they wished to release, and the ways in which cargo is safely delivered when thrown from the back of a plane. And I experienced a communal lunch in a mess too.

But the biggest learning for me, was seeing the pride, commitment, and enthusiasm of the reservists.

I saw them asking meaningful questions about technical details (95 per cent of which went over my head!) as they engaged with service personnel in the display tents. And I got to see just how highly skilled active service personnel and reservists are. It helped remind me that we, as an employer supporting reservists and veterans, get a great deal of added value from the service experience of those staff.

I am immensely proud of the continued close working that Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust enjoys with the Armed Forces, something that was recently cemented by the recent official signing of the Armed Forces covenant.

Thank you to all our reservists, veterans, and their families for all you do for our patients.

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