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Portsmouth hospital says thank you to military colleagues for amazing support during pandemic and beyond

Published: 24th June 2022 14:34
The Chief Nurse of a Portsmouth hospital has expressed her heartfelt thanks to the hundreds of military colleagues who have supported the hospital over the last few years.

Speaking ahead of Armed Forces Day (25 June), Liz Rix, Chief Nurse at Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust, has sent a personal message to more than 200 military medical personnel, who work alongside NHS colleagues at the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham.

Liz said: “In our community there will be lots of people celebrating Armed Forces Day. As a Trust, we have a long and proud history with the military and the teams have been amazing – especially over the last few years.

“We will be celebrating with the military teams on Saturday but most of all we wanted to say a massive thank you to all our military colleagues who work here at Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust.”

Armed Forces Day takes place on the last Saturday of June every year and is a chance for communities to show support for the men and women who make up the Armed Forces: from current serving troops to service families, veterans and cadets.

Queen Alexandra Hospital (QA) started life more than a century ago as a military hospital and is home to the Joint Hospital Group (South), the largest of the UK’s four Joint hospital group units, led by Commander Karen McCullough.

Within Joint Hospital Group (South) there are more than 200 military medical personnel – a mix of doctors, nurses, healthcare assistants, and allied healthcare professionals from the Royal Navy, Royal Air Force and Army who work alongside NHS colleagues to care for patients.

Working at QA means military clinicians, nurses and allied health professionals can maintain and develop their skills, ensuring they are ready to provide care to armed forces personnel wherever they are deployed worldwide.

Cdr Karen McCullough, Commanding Officer, Joint Hospital Group South, said: “Armed Forces Day is a day in which we can really celebrate our Forces men and women. It’s also a day where we can look at our veterans and thank them for all the things they have done in the past for us.

“It’s also a real morale boost for us as a team because we know the community are looking out for us and that they feel Armed Forces Day is something worth recognising.”

“These last two years of COVID working has challenged all of us, both military and civilian to work differently. As one team, we have come out of the pandemic strong partners who work side by side to ensure that our patients are cared for to the best of our ability.

“Additionally, this partnership ensures that our military staff are prepared clinically to care for patients injured or wounded on military deployments. As part of Armed Forces Day, it is great to know that PHU are celebrating the role of the armed forces personnel who work side by side with them at Queen Alexandra Hospital.”

Meet some of the military medical personnel based at Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham

 Corporal Vicky Ferguson: Originally from Runcorn in Cheshire, Vicky has worked in the Army for over 12 years, working as a Combat Medical Technician for over eight years before qualifying as an adult nurse in January this year.

Vicky said: “As a newly qualified nurse, I have had the privilege of working with exceptional health care professionals who are compassionate about the care they provide, whilst striving to support and guide the future generation of junior nurse’s like myself.

“As an Army nurse I have the opportunity to work within various clinical settings around the Trust. This allows me to gain exposure to life saving clinical skills, that I can utilise within any austere environment. Further allowing me to support the operational effectiveness within the armed forces whilst deployed on operations.”

 Captain Isaac Marmah: He has been working as an Infection, Prevention and Control (IPC) nurse at Queen Alexandra Hospital for the last year. He joined the Army 11 years ago and says he values working with. He says: “It’s a great to be working with civilians as they give us a new dimension which we wouldn’t normally have just working in the Army.

“One of the things I really like about working here is we get to do a lot of teaching and this post also sharpens our tools, so when we do get deployed – we can do our job the best.”




 Corporal Megan Betts: Megan is a military nurse in the RAF supporting the NHS at the QA Hospital. She is one of 200 military staff helping to ensure there are safe staffing levels at the hospital. Her role in the Acute Medical Unit involves morning medication rounds; making sure patients are fully hydrated whether that’s with oral fluids or IV fluids; and ensuring patients are safe and cared for.

“It’s great working in the NHS, they’re a great bunch of nurses. Not only do you go home feeling like you have been valued and provided great care; you also get your competency signed off so that you can become operationally deployable as a military force and your skills are kept up to date.”


 Cpl Rebecca Crisp: Becky Crisp is an Adult Nurse based in the Critical Care Unit at QA Hospital. She joined the RAF five years ago. She says: “I love working within a passionate team that is dedicated in striving for the best patient care and for the opportunity to learn every day.

“An RAF nurse is a multifaceted approach to healthcare. Although you'll see some of my colleagues on the wards, our role also takes us into the skies.”

Cpl Kaitlyn Reid: Originally from the Highlands, in the far north of Scotland, Kaitlyn’s job as a British Army nurse has brought her to Portsmouth, where she works alongside NHS colleagues at QA Hospital. Her role involves developing and expanding her knowledge and skillset,  in preparation for future deployments. “I love the NHS family, even on the bad days everyone pulls together to help each other. I have developed some good friendships working here.

“I also like making a difference - seeing the patient journey from admission to discharge can be very rewarding


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