Armed Forces Week 2024

17th June 2024

This week is Armed Forces Week – a chance to celebrate our Armed Forces, the Military personnel and the role they play protecting the UK both at home and overseas. 

Throughout the week we’ll be profiling the work of NEAS and its staff who are veterans and serving reservists.

We’ll also be flying the Armed Forces Day flag and marking Reservists Day and Armed Forces Day.

The Armed Forces community includes Regular, Reserves, veterans, spouses and both cadets and Cadet Force Adult Volunteers from our four cadet services – Sea Cadet Corps, Army Cadet Force, RAF Air Cadets and the Combined Cadet Forces.

Thurs - Josh Plumpton.jpgJosh Plumpton has worked for NEAS for five years and has recently completed our paramedic apprenticeship programme. He will gain his paramedic registration in the next few weeks.

Before NEAS, Josh served in the army for 13 years with the Coldstream in the Household Division.

While serving, Josh supported the ambulance service during periods of industrial action, and it gave him an insight into the role of a paramedic.

Josh said: “I wanted a career where I could be challenged mentally and academically, whilst working within a team environment. 

“Many of the skills from the military have been directly transferable such as communication skills – whether that be dealing with patients, relatives, other services we work alongside, or crew mates – and the ability to be able to achieve a common goal or aim is achieved through clear and concise communications. 

“For anyone thinking of a career in the ambulance service after their service, I would urge anyone to consider it. Whether that be in paramedicine, in a clinical support role, or one of the many non-clinical roles available. 

“As a service leaver there is a strong veteran’s network throughout the Trust and there are many of the day to day skills from service life which can be of huge use within the ambulance service.”


Specialist paramedic critical care, Sean Storey has worked at NEAS for over 18 years He is also a reservist in the 214 Multi Medical Regiment - 201 squadron.

He is able to complete the majority of this training due to the Trust giving an additional 14 days leave to attend.

Sean said: “Balancing work family and the reserves can be challenging but I get huge support from my wife and the rest of the family so I can peruse my career within the Army Reserve.

“If you are wanting to become a reservist it is a great challenge, however, be aware that the initial training can be challenging and push you out of your comfort zone but the opportunities to expand your clinical knowledge, adventurous training and deployments in various clinical setting are there to explore”

Our second reservist is Hannah Vice, a training officer who has worked at NEAS since January 2023.

As a mother of seven children and two step-children, Hannah has a busy work and family life, but she is also a Combat Medical Technician Class One in the 251 Medical Squadron.

Hannah said: “It can be difficult at times to get the balance of a full-time career, reservist commitments and family life but I always say, ‘if you want a job doing, find a busy person’.

“For me, my work within NEAS and my role within the Army complement each other and I enjoy the opportunities each provide so I am keen to participate as often as possible.

“Being a reservist has been a life changing decision, it led me on the path which brought me to where I am now. Personally, I wouldn’t change a thing.”

Recently, serving reservist Mags O’Donnell, who is an advanced practitioner at North East Ambulance Service, was presented a plaque to our Chief Executive Helen Ray in recognition of employer engagement and as a thank you from the former 201 Field Hospital Officers Mess, based at Fenham Barracks.  The Barracks is now no longer and has now amalgamated with other reserve units to form 214 Multi Medical Regiment based in several locations from Newcastle,  Sheffield and Sunderland.  The detailed framed 201 embroidered shield will soon take pride of place in a NEAS location with huge thanks from our Trust.   

Helen said, “More than 400 of our employees are veterans or serving as reservists and Cadet Force Adult Volunteers and we really value the mutual sharing of knowledge, training and support this brings us.” 

NEAS signed up to the Armed Forces Covenant through the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) and was recently awarded a Gold employer award.  The Armed Forces Covenant is a promise from the nation to those who service or who have served, and their families, which says we will do all we can to ensure they are treated fairly and are not disadvantaged in their day-to-day lives.  NEAS is one of 132 NHS trusts and organisations to be named a Veterans Aware employer.