THE ambulance service has been recognised for its commitment to supporting the Armed Forces.

The Ministry of Defence said South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SCAS) was one of 33 organisations to receive the Ministry’s Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) Gold Award.

It is the highest badge of honour for organisations which have signed the Armed Forces Covenant and demonstrated outstanding support for those who serve and have served.

The ERS Gold Awards recognise employers who support the Armed Forces community in their workplace.

The award scheme, which attracts entries from companies in every part of the country and in the private and public sectors, has seen a rapid increase in participation since it launched in 2014, but SCAS is one of only two ambulances services in England to have received the Gold Award.

Philip Astle, chief operating officer at SCAS, who retired as a colonel after a 25-year career in the Army, said: “We are delighted to be recognised with this prestigious award.

“In my role it is very satisfying to not only find myself meeting so many ex-services personnel whose skills and experience we are able to use to benefit patients in our region, but also I am extremely proud that the trust has such a positive and flexible approach to allow our reservists and cadets to continue their valuable service to our Armed Forces.”

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said: “The actions of these employers make it crystal clear that regardless of size, location, or sector, employing people with military skills is good for business.”