How our wonderful reservists are benefiting teams across the trust


How our wonderful reservists are benefiting teams across the trust

One of the lesser known roles at our trust is that of our band of ‘reservists’, who are colleagues that join us for a flexible time period to plug gaps in our workforce where needed.

The reservist programme, which is run across England, first came about during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in the early stages of the vaccination programme when we needed to quickly staff centres at short notice.

It proved so successful that we began offering reservists roles in our other services across Somerset, which both helped the trust and also gave these colleagues a real sense of belonging to the NHS.

Once the early stages of the vaccination campaign slowed down, we realised that all of the volunteers who came forward would essentially no longer be needed in their roles and we didn’t want to lose their skills.

In fact, we now have over 700 reservists who’ve already supported over 40 departments since the programme began in August 2022, and they’re still ready and willing to step in again where needed.

The flexibility of the roles also extend beyond our trust and across the Somerset Integrated Care System, so it’s possible for a reservist to take up a role within primary care, the council, or the NHS Somerset Integrated Care Board.

One of our amazing reservists is Kevin Boseley (pictured above), who does an important job in our orthotics department at Musgrove Park Hospital.

Kevin joined the RAF shortly after leaving school and completed 21 years’ service, most of it as an aircraft engineer, before becoming a supply and logistics officer – and that’s where his skills really come in use for our trust!

Following his time in the RAF, Kevin emigrated to Canada where he worked for a big insurance company in training and safety, before returning to the UK with the Ministry of Defence, in HR and procurement roles. It was during the pandemic that Kevin decided that he wanted to slow down in his career.

“When the COVID-19 pandemic began I struggled with the concept of working from home and I felt it was time to retire,” he says.

“I didn’t want to give up work completely though, so I volunteered to become a marshal at the vaccination centres, where I showed people to the right place.

“I loved my time there and when I spoke to some of the managers, they told me that they were introducing a new NHS reservist programme, which sounded right up my street!

“Through the reservist programme, I took up an admin role, again for the vaccination programme, which is where I met Wendy Hooper – who was also working on the programme alongside her day job as orthotics manager at the trust.

“With the vaccination programme beginning to wind down a little, I moved across to another admin role, this time in orthotics, which involved ordering equipment for a variety of patient needs – very much drawing on the logistics roles I’ve had during my career.

“I did a bit of a stock take in the store room and realised it needed to be put in a bit more order, so I made it my job to tidy and sort things out, making it easier for colleagues to know what equipment we have in stock at any one time.

“Now I have a series of spreadsheets that tells me what the usage of equipment is and what stock levels we need to keep of various things, as well as adding new items, such as a new type of brace.

“I’ve even been able to identify a few instances where a manufacturer has got the development of an item wrong, so I’ve gone back to discuss it with them, alongside our procurement colleagues.

“I absolutely love my role, especially how flexible it is, as Wendy allows me to come in at any time that suits me.

“The colleagues here are great and I absolutely love meeting new people as I make a point of speaking to our patients to make them smile and help put them at ease.”

Wendy adds: “Having Kevin here as a reservist means that as clinicians, we no longer need to worry about our stock levels because he does this for us.

“Kevin can also put his hands on what we need pretty quickly, although the magic thing about Kevin is that I can ask how many knee braces we’d ordered in the last month, for example, and he’d know the answer at his fingertips.

“The reservist programme is absolutely brilliant as they take care of all the HR processes and even pay for the three days of training – it makes it very easy.”

Reservist Trish Hobson standing in the library at Yeovil District Hospital.Another of our reservists is Trish Hobson (pictured right), who works in our knowledge and library service, based at the library at Yeovil District Hospital.

Trish’s regular job is as a supply teacher, but during the first lockdown there was no supply teaching available, so she responded to the call for volunteers in our COVID-19 vaccination centres – and she even became an actual vaccinator.

She says: “I loved every minute of my time in the vaccination centre, but when things then went a bit quiet, there were still a lot of really engaged and eager volunteers who still wanted to contribute…so we became part of the NHS reservists.

“Every now and again they give us a call, ask how we’re doing, and whether we’re interested in a reservist role.

“With the vaccination centres tending to run at the same time as the school term, it was no longer possible for me to help with that anyway, so I asked whether they had anything else available.

“They showed me a list of different areas I could help with, and a role at the YDH library really caught my eye, so I had a chat with the service manager, Cate Newell, and knowledge and library specialist, April Cursons, who interviewed me and thought I was ideal for the job.

“I’ve absolutely loved my time at the library, as although it’s a long day (I travel in from Weston Super Mare), there’s something different all the time.

“I love anything to do with books and at the interview I spoke about how I’ve been to many literary festivals and how I’ve worked as a volunteer at some of them. It has been a real eye opener as I’ve learned lots of medical terms that I never knew before!

“I’m currently taking some time away from the hospital as I always travel to see my family for three months in a year, but I really hope to be able to come back later this year if they still have a space.

“Now I’m even trying to get my partner to sign up as a reservist as we never realised there were so many potential roles!

“I’d even want to go one further and volunteer once I’ve officially retired, as there’s so much need and it feels wonderful to be able to give back to our NHS.”

Tom Welham, a library assistant at YDH, adds: “We’ve been quite short staffed in the library as one of our key colleagues is on maternity leave and another has recently retired, so the reservist scheme came at the perfect time for us.

“It has been great as during the times I’m not here, or when it’s really busy, it’s fantastic to have someone as knowledgeable and helpful as Trish here to help out.

“It’s definitely something we’d like to continue with in the future and I’m sure we’ll be looking to use Trish’s skills when she gets back from her holiday as she’s really friendly and works well with our colleagues.”


Charlene Craig, our reservist programme lead, says: “This programme is a real step in the right direction for the future and there’s huge potential to give people more options when finding what type of role works for them.

“I’ve seen so many different types of people join the programme, for different reasons, and we’ve had some amazing talent come through with lots of transferrable skills.

“If I wasn’t already working in the NHS and passionate about my current role I would join the programme myself!”

Silvie Kluzova, one of our reservist programme administrators, adds:

“I feel that the reservist programme is a wonderful way for people to gain new knowledge and experience in line with using their existing skills, while supporting various departments within healthcare sector.

“We implemented a unique joining process, which works very well and offers that extra reassurance and support during the candidate’s journey.

“If we feel that the candidate might not be the right fit for the programme, we will always try to find most appropriate route for them and advise them how to proceed.”

Paige Liverton, who’s also a reservist programme administrator, says: “I’ve had first-hand experience of what the reservist programme can offer by being able to take on a new role temporarily in the ADHD service.

“This gave me an insight to a different sector in the trust and be able to use new systems that I otherwise wouldn’t have had an experience with.”