PRINCE Harry has presented Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust with the Ministry of Defence’s prestigious Employer Recognition Scheme Gold Award.

The Gold Award is the highest badge of honour for organisations that have signed the Armed Forces Covenant. It recognises employers who actively support the Armed Forces community in their workplace and also encourage others to follow their lead.

Hampshire Hospitals was one of the first Trusts to join the Step into Health programme, which offers members of the Armed Forces coming to the end of their service the opportunity to undertake work attachments in the NHS.

The Trust, which runs Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital, Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester and Andover War Memorial Hospital, also actively supports staff who serve as reservists.

Donna Green, chief nurse and deputy chief executive of Hampshire Hospitals, accepted the award alongside fellow Trust staff Kofi Quartey and Ganu Thapa during a special ceremony held at the Imperial War Museum in London.

And Donna said: “We were delighted to receive this award and are proud of the work we do to support both current and former service personnel.

“Working closely with the Armed Forces has had a hugely positive impact on our Trust. We have been able to identify and employ excellent staff across a wide range of job roles through the Step into Health programme, while we also benefit from the training and experience gained by reservists when they are with the forces.

“We are looking to forge even stronger links with the Armed Forces moving forward and are working on a programme that would give serving personnel the opportunity to work with us in our hospitals.”

Sir Michael Fallon, Secretary of State for Defence, hosted the event. He said: “This year’s Gold Award winners should be extremely proud of the work they are doing to live up to the Armed Forces Covenant pledge and to promote the pledge to others. I hope others follow their example, thereby delivering a better deal for veterans and armed forces families.”