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NHS trust signs Armed Forces Covenant

Army Covenant signing Nov 2019

Demonstrating its commitment to support the Armed Forces community, County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust has signed an Armed Forces Covenant.  The Covenant is an acknowledgement of the valuable contribution serving personnel, both regular and reservists, veterans, and military families make to public services and the wider community.  In a joint ceremony, Darlington Borough Council reaffirmed its commitment to the Covenant. 

Army Covenant signing Nov 2019


The ceremony took place in Memorial Hall, Darlington Memorial Hospital, also the location of the town's war memorial, where the names of all of the several hundred Darlington men who gave their lives serving their country during the First World War are engraved.   

Covenants were signed by Sue Jacques, chief executive at County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, and The Mayor of Darlington, Councillor Nick Wallis, on behalf of Darlington Borough Council.  Witnesses included medical and nursing staff who are former members of the armed services or who currently serve as reservists, representatives from The North of England Reserve Forces' and Cadets' Association, which is part of the ministry of defence, representatives of 201 Field Hospital, based in Newton Aycliffe and representatives of Durham County Council, who signed their own Covenant in 2012 and who hold the Ministry of Defence Employer Recognition Scheme Gold Award. 

The Armed Forces Covenant is a pledge that society acknowledges and understands that those who serve or who have served in the armed forces, and their families, should be treated with fairness and respect. 

Commenting, Sue Jacques, said, "A number of our staff have been members of the Armed Forces, or are reservists, combining their role with us and serving their country. It's humbling that some of our medical and nursing colleagues have used their amazing skills serving in Iraq and Afghanistan and were also deployed to Sierra Leone during the Ebola crisis, caring for members of our forces and civilians. We're proud of the dedication they show their patients, wherever they're caring for them whether it's  here or in a field hospital somewhere else in the World. The Covenant represents our commitment to being an armed forces-friendly organisation." 

Councillor Nick Wallis, Mayor of Darlington, said: "People in the armed forces travel all over the world to defend our freedom. It is, therefore, right and fitting that the public should be respectful and supportive of our serving personnel, reservists and veterans. The Armed Forces Covenant reinforces that recognition and respect, and it was an honour to add my name to it on behalf of the people of Darlington." 

Darren Rhodes, Regional Employer Engagement Director, The North of England Reserve Forces' and Cadets' Association, said, "I am delighted that not one but two of County Durham and Darlington's largest public employers have chosen to sign their Armed Forces Covenant pledge to demonstrate their appreciation of our inspirational community of veterans, reservists, regular service personnel, cadets, our wounded, injured and sick; and all those families who share the sacrifice that military service requires.  Darlington Borough Council reaffirms its commitment, after previously signing a Community Covenant in 2012, County Durham & Darlington NHS Foundation Trust will now join the majority of the North East NHS organisations, who are already delivering excellent services to support those from the Forces requiring treatment or looking for a second career".


Published 26th November 2019

'I would like to thank all the staff for my treatment and their professionalism.'

Patient, Cardiology Department, Bishop Auckland Hospital