NHS recognition of Army Nursing Service (for AL reckoning)


Hi all

Prepare for a post rivalling War & Peace :D

I've recently had a successful outcome from a formal grievance I've had running with my employer (A NHS Scotland Health Board) for a few years & feel that there may be others out there who might benefit from the outcome.

The grievance was in relation to the recognition of my previous Army service for the purposes of calculating my annual leave in the NHS. (In the NHS your entitlement goes up considerably after 5 years and again after 10 years service).

The gist of my grievance was the guidance in the current AFC Handbook, Part 3: Terms and Conditions - Section 12: Contractual continuity of service / Reckonable service 12.2 which states:

"Employers have the discretion to take into account any period or periods of employment with employers outside the NHS where these are judged to be relevant to NHS employment".

NHS AFC Handbook

My situation was that before my current employer I had never previously been employed by the NHS having trained in the Army (serving over 10 years) & then worked in the Scottish Prison Service for 7 years.

I felt that according to the AFC T&C's handbook that my previous experience must be relevant to my "NHS Employment" (given that it was good enough to get me my G Grade post) & made my case.

My HR Dept knocked me back using "Circular HDL (2006) 49: 6.2 Calculation of Reckonable Service" Circular HDL (2006)

This appears to give a list of types of employment that would be judged to be "Relevant to NHS Employment" & guess what - No Armed Forces Service there. (I even argued that the "OVERSEAS" part would apply as I was delivering Health Services & was pretty damn sure the Army didn't make a profit :D ).

It seemed to me that the list was supposed to be a list of examples as opposed to a definitive list..... HR of course disagreed.

By this point I had put on my black hat & shades, jumped in my Bluesmobile on & was on a mission. :rambo:

So a couple of years ago it was off to my Union (RCN) who felt I had a very good case. They tried my HR with same success that I did then the RCN sent the matter for consideration by STAC - (Scottish Terms and Conditions Committee).

STAC have now come back with a positive outcome for me saying that previous service should be recognised for the purposes of Annual Leave if I had been working as a Nurse in the Army.

For me personally this means my employer owed me 6 weeks of backdated AL (Kerching! - Florida here I come).

For anyone joining the NHS in Scotland from now it could mean that any relevant previous Army Service could be counted towards calculating their annual leave (If they ask using my case as an example).

Although the STAC only cover NHS Scotland the RCN reckon that the judgement/advice made by them can be used as an example for the rest of the UK. So if you're in the NHS elsewhere & your situation fits then you can lodge a grievance using my case as evidence.

The one thing that can be guaranteed is that NHS HR Services will not be telling anyone about this (mostly because most of them don't know) - anyone who feels that their previous service should be recognised will have to chase this up themselves.

Few more points:

- The submission to STAC also included my Prison Service & STAC also advised that this should also be recognised for AL reckoning.

- If I can help anyone who this may apply to please drop a line.

- If you know anyone involved in resettling Nurses coming out of the Forces please pass this on to them.

- I imagine the same principle should apply to other Healthcare professionals??

- If anyone successfully gets their entitlement increased..... I just love Drambuie.

Hi Tom,

What a run around you have had!

When I left the Army to join the NHS in England they never tried to refuse my entitlement. I got maximum A/L from the start.

I wonder what will happen with the A4C bands, will they count years service in calculating where you fit within the banding? I was already NHS when it started so wasn't an issue for me.

Enjoy Florida.


Hi Scarlet & Grey

Yep its been an interesting experience. Best part was that everyone in my organisation supported me......Apart from the HR dept of course.

My direct line manager had a vested interest in supporting me too as shes in exactly the same position as I was after doing 22 years in the QA's.

Glad to see that your NHS board did the sensible thing & you got the entitlement without any hassle.

My lot allegedly contacted all Scottish NHS boards before knocking me back & said that none of them would recognise Forces experience.

What really made me go the whole hog was the fact that this would have been acceptable but serving your country wouldnt:

"Overseas - The person must have worked for an organisation delivering health services in a not for profit environment or organisation."

How loose a description is that (& I still think describes the Army perfectly).

Still gets my goat how stubborn they were and the really lame excuses they came up with. Apart from the hoops I had to go through and the time it took it seemed obvious to me that I was going to win out but they just couldnt see it.

I guess the way the NHS treats ex-Forces is very localised & it shouldn't be - thats why I'm keen to let everyone know that thier previous service should count (at least towards Annual Leave reckoning).

Your right it will be interesting to see how the banding affects those coming out. I imagine that it will again be down to how well you sell yourself & argue your case.

I would like to say that apart from this issue I'm very happy with my Employer - been with them a good few years and now working at a Band 7.

I also think that NHS staff generally get a great deal when it comes to the amount of AL they get - My grievance wasnt really about getting the AL more about the principle (although the backpay for the owed AL wont go amiss).
I've got to say I've had no problems from day 1 in the NHS & was immediately offered 33 days AL without asking.

However I have heard of individual trusts giving others the run around
Hello Tom,

Your tosser HR dept forgot that whilst you were at QEMH (yes I do remember you) you would have looked after NHS patients?

However what relevance does getting pissed in the sports bar at BMH Iserlohn have to NHS service? Thankfully my NHS employer(s) never thought to question that one.

Seriously, well done for your perseverance.
I was very clear on my CV about military hospitals serving the local civ pop, working in MDHUs was actually time served in the NHS, OP tours were obviously working with NGOs to improve medical provision for the locals (it is ok to stretch the truth in your CV isn't it?) and my time spent in Germany was enabling me to improve my man management and organisational skills.

As many have said on here before, tailoring your mil CV into civ speak is the first step into a better career.

Since I've started in the Trust it's amazing how many ex-forces (and RAF) people there are mooching about.
Jacques_Bustard said:
Hello Tom,

Your tosser HR dept forgot that whilst you were at QEMH (yes I do remember you) you would have looked after NHS patients?

However what relevance does getting pissed in the sports bar at BMH Iserlohn have to NHS service? Thankfully my NHS employer(s) never thought to question that one.

Seriously, well done for your perseverance.
My livers still hurting from way back then.

Its probably best I keep my civvy patient body count quiet from anyone in authority.....

Gimme a clue then - who are you?

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