Coronavirus

COVID: Army Volunteers Offer Mentoring To NHS Leaders

More than 130 NHS England staff received mentoring from British Army personnel during the pandemic.

British Army personnel mentored NHS leaders on how to respond to the pressures of the coronavirus pandemic.

Servicemen and women offered more than 130 NHS England staff advice on leadership, response to uncertainty and decision-making in stressful situations.

The mentoring scheme began in June last year and it continued during the pandemic.

"The British Army’s NHS mentoring programme shows the sheer breadth of expertise the Armed Forces can offer to help their country respond to all manner of threats," Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said.

The mentors all have direct experience of recent military deployments or commanding troops, drawing their advice from personal experiences on operations or in crisis situations.

Lieutenant Colonel Joanna Munce, an Army officer at Sandhurst and the programme designer and coordinator, said it has been "a privilege" to assist NHS leaders.

"Serving as an Army officer has given me experience in responding to crises and coping with unfolding situations, and I’m really pleased I’ve been able to develop a programme which shares the Army’s knowledge and experience with the NHS," Lt Col Munce said.

NHS England approached the Army for mentoring support after being inspired by the book 'Stand Up Straight: 10 Life Lessons from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst'.

Soldiers have carried out a variety of tasks since the start of the pandemic to support the NHS in the fight against COVID-19 (Picture: MOD).

A total of 160 Army volunteers were trained to mentor NHS personnel.

Sister Georgia Kempton, a nurse in the Acute Medical Unit and Medical Triage Unit at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, said she signed up for the mentoring programme to improve her “confidence in decision making during an unprecedented time”.

She said: "This is obviously an invaluable skill that I can carry over into all aspects of my role.

"I was fortunate to be paired with an Army mentor that I was able to develop a rapport with.

"He has offered constructive support, advice and provided me with the tools to support my thought processes and decision making, as well as helping me develop my leadership style and belief in my knowledge, experience and skills built during my career."

Military personnel support with COVID19 coronavirus response at Desbyshire Gresley Hall DATE UNKNOWN used on 120121 CREDIT MOD.jpg
Members of the Armed Forces have offered support to the NHS throught the pandemic in a variety of roles (Picture: MOD).

The NHS also worked with the Army to adapt some of its training material to include Army expertise.

British military personnel from the British Army, Royal Air Force and Royal Navy have been a key part of the UK's COVID-19 response both at home and overseas.

The Armed Forces' response to the pandemic is now the biggest ever homeland military operation in peacetime.

Together with the NHS, military personnel are also involved in the roll-out of a mass vaccination programme.

Cover image: MOD.