Date published: 24 June 2024

This Armed Forces Week, Karen Tomlinson, EMAS Chairman, shares her gratitude to our Armed Forces, including current and former Service personnel who are employees or volunteers at EMAS.

She also shares her encouragement for Armed Forces personnel approaching civilian resettlement and who may be considering a future career in the NHS.

Gratitude for our Armed Services

"DuringKaren Tomlinson, EMAS Chair.jpg my 45 years serving the NHS, I have been lucky enough to work with many Veterans and Reservists who brought their immeasurable skills to our service, including at EMAS.

I’ve seen first-hand the close alignment between the values and ethics of the Armed Forces and the ambulance service. The nationwide response to the Covid-19 pandemic brought this to the fore. While leading the North Nottinghamshire Covid Programme from the frontline in 2020-2021, I saw members of the Armed Forces and NHS standing shoulder-to-shoulder to support patients, hospitals, urgent and emergency care, and safely deliver the country’s vaccination and testing programmes.

Since the pandemic, EMAS has seen an increase in applications from military personnel who want to continue to develop their career with the ambulance service. New staff who have joined us from the Forces often talk about the similarities: we both have a highly-skilled workforce with a clear rank and structure; we’re dedicated to providing a first-class public service; and our work requires discipline, integrity and intent.

I would like to convey my appreciation to all UK military personnel for their service, and to military families for the role they play in supporting and enabling their duties. I would also like to express my deepest gratitude to the many Veterans, Reservists and Cadet Forces Adult Volunteers who are part of Team EMAS and who, in their work every day in our communities, remain committed to delivering a public service."

Looking to the future

Karen reaches the end of her term as EMAS Chairman in July 2024, following 45 years of NHS service.

Fleet Reservists, Derbyshire Remembrance Nov 2023.jpg
Five Army Reservists and members
of the EMAS Fleet Team

"As I come to the end of my term as Chairman of EMAS and reflect on my experiences, I remain resolute in my support of military personnel resettling via the NHS workforce.

At EMAS, we recognise the close alignment of the Armed Forces and the ambulance service. That’s why we’re proud to offer a guaranteed interview scheme to individuals with a military service history.*

However we know it’s not just about getting staff on board; we have a responsibility to nurture you and support you to develop. Looking after our staff is key to a resilient workforce – and the more compassion we show our staff, the more they will be able to give to their patient duties.

After four decades of service, the NHS is very much a part of me. As I look to the future, I know the confidence it takes to leave everything you know and transition into a new environment. If you’re looking for a career that continues to serve our communities, I urge you to explore your future in the ambulance service."