In the latest issue of the QARNNS Newsletter, Head of the Naval Nursing Service, Capt Steve Spencer QHNS RN, updates the branch on his priorities for the Service.
As I write this it is mid-December and the year is nearly over. It has been another year of achievement for QARNNS some of which you will read about in this Newsletter. Most recently LNN Eagle was awarded the title of RN Sportswoman of the Year for her amazing haul of medals and records for the RN Swimming team. Of course we have continued to deliver on Operations with QARNNS contributing significantly to Op LITTEN, OP RUMAN and OP PANAKA .
Looking ahead OP TRENTON will undoubtedly be the focus for many in the New Year. I went to visit Strensall to see some of the training and I know that, yet again, the RNMS effort will be the best prepared deployment. I am very aware that the level of demand in the NHS continues to increase and that this can impact on your opportunity to acquaint yourselves with your operational role, especially for those more junior. The establishment of the Deployed Hospital Care (Afloat) Team is really starting to help here. Whilst TRENTON is the focus I know Cdr Hounsome has already increased the opportunities for people to spend time on PCRF and will be looking at further opportunities to get QARNNS afloat in the New Year.
Overall we are in pretty good health at the moment with very buoyant recruiting. Specialty numbers are improving although ITU and Theatres still have gaps. We are also quite heavily gapped at Lt Cdr. This is an inevitable consequence of our struggle to recruit at Sub Lt and Lt some years ago. This will be a challenge for some time and will require everyone to step up a little. The overall challenge for Defence and the Navy remains substantial. The constant drive to reduce costs and increase efficiencies will undoubtedly continue. Be assured that I and everyone at NCHQ Medical Division is always working to ensure that the decisions taken are sensible and the full impact is explored first. I do not doubt that next year will be as challenging as this, nor that, as with OP RUMAN, something completely unexpected will occur. I am confident that, yet again, QARNNS will meet the challenge head on.
Captain Steve Spencer QHNS
DACOS Health and HNNS