Supporting our armed forces staff and patients

Joshua March, general manager for our Trauma Directorate, started his healthcare career in the Army. He has since moved to the NHS but has one foot very much grounded in the Army as a reservist. We spoke to Joshua about the unique skills army personnel bring to the NHS, and how we support our staff who have served and continue to serve, and our local veteran communities.

What is your role at the Trust?

I joined the Trust in January 2020 and worked within cardiac and gynaecology teams before moving to my current interim role of general manager for our Trauma Directorate at St Mary’s Hospital. As of September 2024, I will be moving to the permanent position of general manager for the Renal and Transplant Directorate. These roles have given me many opportunities to collaborate with colleagues across our different services and sites, and I feel very proud to work for the Trust. I have particularly enjoyed the variety of day-to-day challenges in my current role, and working within the Trauma service at a Major Trauma Centre alongside an excellent team has been a highlight of my career to date.

Tell us about your journey before coming to the Trust.

I have always worked in a healthcare role, but most of my time before joining the Trust was outside the NHS and in the Royal Army Medical Corps. I was employed as a Medical Support Officer, which is a non-clinical command role.

My career began at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, which involved a year of intense leadership and management training. After being commissioned, I held positions as a Troop Commander and then as a Squadron Second-in-Command, both at 16 Medical Regiment which supports the Parachute Regiment and wider 16 Air Assault Brigade. During this time, I had the opportunity to complete my jumps course and qualify as an Army paratrooper. The highlight of my Army career was being deployed with my Squadron as part of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan, to set up a field hospital in support of the United Nations peacekeeping force at a displaced persons camp. The experiences and personal development this deployment afforded me and my wider Army career have made me the person I am today.

Following the birth of my first child, I no longer wanted the potential obligation of deploying and leaving my family at very short notice. I decided to leave the regular Army and took up a role as service manager for Theatres and Anaesthetics at St George’s University Hospital NHS Trust. However, I remain heavily involved in the Army Reserve and am currently serving as Officer Commanding 144 (Parachute) Medical Squadron.


“Op RESTORE uses a network of both civilian and military consultants, along with welfare support from military charities, to support veteran’s health using a holistic approach.”


What inspired your career in the NHS? And how did you find the transition from army to NHS?

I was already fulfilling a healthcare role in the Army, and I knew that upon leaving I wanted to apply that experience and skillset in a civilian role. The NHS was always top of the list; another large, national institution staffed by people with a very strong service ethos who regularly go above and beyond what is expected of them.

When I joined St George's, it had recently signed the Armed Forces Covenant and joined Step Into Health, an initiative to encourage military service leavers into the NHS. I was very fortunate to have been provided opportunities to shadow and spend time with various staff in different roles at St George’s, which supported my application when I eventually applied for the role of Theatres and Anaesthetics service manager, and which made my transition relatively seamless. I am pleased that our Trust is currently exploring the Step Into Health scheme, as there are many other service leavers out there who could make a really positive impact on our organisation if given the right opportunities.

Armed Forces Day falls on Saturday 29 June this year. Are there any key messages you’d like to share?

There is a large armed forces community at the Trust from veterans, their spouses and families, and regular and reserve forces serving personnel. They bring a wide range of experiences to the organisation, and almost always come with a strong sense of dedication and duty. If you’re a hiring manager and an application from someone in the Armed Forces community comes across your desk, please give them due consideration, even if they do not have the stereotypical experience you would expect for the role.

What dedicated reservist support is available for you at the Trust?

Reservists in the Trust are fortunate to be given additional leave to attend military training, often called annual camp. The Trust has recently taken the welcome decision to increase this from one week paid and one week unpaid to two weeks (10 working days in a rolling 12 month period) paid. This allowance is mutually beneficial. It allows our reservists to train with their units without having to use annual leave and miss out on time with family or friends, and in turn reservists bring back additional skills, particularly in operating under pressure, teamwork and leadership. Reservists will also often receive recognised management qualifications as part of military courses they attend, which then benefits their teams and the Trust more widely.

How does the Trust support veteran patients and local communities?

The Trust has recently been accredited as a Veteran Aware trust by the Veterans Health Care Alliance (VHCA) in recognition of our commitment to improving NHS care for veterans, reservists, members of the Armed Forces and their families.

The Trauma Directorate within the Trust also hosts Op RESTORE – a service for anyone who has served at least one day in the UK Armed Forces and, as a result of their service, acquired a significant, lasting physical illness or injury. Op RESTORE uses a network of both civilian and military consultants, along with welfare support from military charities, to support veteran’s health using a holistic approach. Whilst Op RESTORE cannot shorten NHS waiting times, it seeks to ensure the veteran ‘waits well’ and is seen by the most appropriate clinician for their needs. Veterans can be referred to this service by their GP, who can obtain a referral form by emailing