Question and answers

What is a Reservist?

A Reservist is a newly developed role to complement the existing NHS workforce, aimed at nurses who want to continue practicing with a limited time commitment, and seek an opportunity to deploy years of experience and knowledge in a variety of health and social care settings.

What is the commitment?

As a Reservist you are required to work a minimum of 32 deployed days per year and undertake up to five days of training and ‘keep in touch’ time per year.

Where will I be required to work?

You will be assigned to campaigns such as staff flu vaccination, vaccination trials, and to meet increased shift demand in a range of health and social care settings across the North West London region.  This could include working within community, mental health, social care or acute NHS organisations.

Will I work alone or with others?

Where possible we will try to deploy Reservists in small clusters through a number of regional hubs.  You will benefit from the knowledge and support of colleagues.  There may be occasions where you will be deployed to cover a shift where demand for care is higher than usual and this will require you to work as part of a ward based team.

Will I receive an induction or briefing before being deployed?

As part of your training and induction, you will receive a comprehensive briefing about uniform policy, wearing masks, use of PPE and other local protocols and where required undertake a shadow shift.

What is the length of a Reservist shift?

This will vary according to the campaign or requirement at the time and will be notified to you in advance of committing to work the shift. You will be required to work a mix of day and evening shifts across the working week as well as weekends.

What happens during ‘keep in touch’ sessions?

Our keep in touch sessions will be both learning and socially themed and allow you the opportunity to meet fellow Reservists, share knowledge, experience and celebrate success!

What if I need to raise a concern during my deployed days?

Raising concerns is an essential part of the NHS Freedom to Speak Up campaign and there is a protocol in place for doing so.  You will have access to our Clinical Educator who can assist in investigating your concerns and providing all important pastoral care during your time as a Reservist.

What if I want to work more frequently and in a specialist role?

If your desire is to work in a more specialist role and more frequently, our bank services will allow you to do that in a number of locations in community, mental health, social care and acute settings. We can refer you to ‘join the bank’ schemes which are a straightforward process.

Why not simply sign up to the bank?

The Reservist scheme isn’t a replacement for the bank, however it is a ground breaking scheme, the first of its kind in the NHS in England, allowing you to utilise years of acquired knowledge and experience in a dedicated way, working on a less frequent basis.  The early adopters of the scheme will help us to shape the future of the Reservist role and how this compliments the existing dedicated NHS workforce.

What will I be paid if I work as a Registered Nurse or Health Care Assistant (HCA) Reservist?

As a Registered Nurse or HCA your shifts will be paid at the mid-point of your salary band. Pay arrangements for Reservist workers are detailed in your Letter of Registration

Will I be paid Agenda for Change (AfC) enhancements if I work as a  Registered Nurse or HCA Reservist

If you meet the criteria for AfC enhancements in your Reservist role you will be entitled to enhancements.

Does working as a Reservist affect my tax?

The tax position for each individual will be different as this depends if you have other roles outside of the scheme, receive a pension or other income. 

We are not able to give you individual advice regarding your tax position and you should consult HMRC for clarity. Telephone 0300 200 3300 and have a note of your National Insurance number.

Do I receive overtime for Reservist shifts where I work an average of over 37.5 hours per week?

No, there is no entitlement to overtime for hours worked on the Reservist Scheme.

How will I get payment for my Reservist hours worked?

This will be automatically generated from the HealthRoster system once the worked shift has been verified/finalised for payment.

When will I get paid for hours worked on the Bank?

You will be paid on a Friday for hours worked between Monday and Sunday of the previous week subject to your shifts being finalised by the weekly payroll cut off time.  When a bank holiday falls on a Friday you will be paid on Thursday.  

Will I receive holiday pay on the hours I work as a Reservist?

You are entitled to 5.6 working weeks annual leave; this will be calculated pro rata for part time workers.  

What period does weekly pay cover?

If you work between Monday and Sunday you will be paid for the hours you have worked on the Friday of the following week

What is the Reservist incentive scheme?

Reservists may be considered for an incentive bonus scheme upon successful completion of the minimum required training and deployment days.  Only one incentive bonus will be paid in any 12-month period.   Any payment will be subject to tax and National Insurance.

The Incentive bonus scheme is discretionary and their continuation will be regularly reviewed and may be modified or withdrawn at any time

What if my circumstances change and I need to stop working or increase my working days?

We fully appreciate that individual circumstances change and you can pause or resign from your Reservist assignment.   If you wish to work more frequently we can convert your assignment to join the bank and this will give you the flexibility to do so.

What pre-employment checks need to take place?

Before you can start work as a reservist, we need to satisfy a number of Pre-employment checks including DBS, verifying professional registration, proof of address and right to work in the UK.  The scheme will meet the cost of the DBS.

Do I need health clearance to work in specific areas of the hospital?

In most instances no, however you will need to have the required immunisations or Exposure Prone Procedure (EPP) area clearance to work in some areas of the hospital. This will be advised to you in advance of the shift or campaign.   You will also need to consider if you require additional training to undertake EPP.

(Note: - EPP areas are where a worker’s gloved hands may be in contact with sharp instruments, needle tips or sharp tissues for example bone or teeth; inside a patient’s open body cavity or wound where the hands or finger tips may not be completely visible at all times)

Relevant clearance and immunisations will be arranged before you undertake work in areas specified under EPP. 

As a Registered professional you have a personal and professional responsibility to protect yourself and those you care for by ensuring you have the relevant health clearance.

I have not been assessed as being able to work in Exposure Prone Procedure areas - can I work as a Reservist?

Yes, you can work in non EPP areas. 

I am not EPP cleared can I work in EPP areas as a Reservist?

No.  You will need to be referred to the Workplace Health and Wellbeing team to arrange a review before signing up for shifts in EPP areas as you will need to be cleared to work in these areas.

I have a health condition and am concerned about how my health may be impacted by working as a Reservist, what should I do?

First, you will need to be referred to Workplace Health and Wellbeing Services.

Who do I need to contact to work as a Reservist?

Simply email and we will be in touch to guide you through the simple process of becoming a Reservist in around 10 days.

 How will my time be managed as a reservist?

Your deployed days will vary according to demand, this many involve a block of days or single working days on a sporadic basis.

It is important that you make sure you have sufficient time off from work to have a healthy balance between work and home life.  This means that in line with working time regulations you should:

  • not be working more than an average of 48 hours per week
  • have an 11 hour gap between shifts
  • have one day a week off or two days over a fortnight
  • utilise your annual leave entitlement

Can I join the Reservist scheme if I have a substantive post?

The most appropriate option would be to join the bank if you already hold a substantive contract and wish to work additional shifts.  This does not exclude you from enquiring about the Reservist scheme.

How do I find out what shifts/assignments are available for Reservists?

You should contact the Reservist Booking Coordinator.

If I don’t work as a Reservist for a while, will my registration be cancelled?

No, so it doesn’t matter if there are gaps between working shifts. However, you should be practicing for a minimum average of 12.5 hours per month to remain clinically current and meet the requirements for revalidation.

Professional registration and competencies

 As required by the NMC Code you have a professional responsibility to maintain your own professional registration and revalidation to practice safely and effectively.

Can I work in any ward/areas of the any hospital as a Reservist?

You can work in any clinical area providing you have the clinical competencies to practice safely and effectively. You will also need to have the relevant health clearance.   On occasion when working as a Reservist, you may be required to move to another area.  You can deliver the general duties of the Registered Nurse role, but will not be expected to perform tasks/duties which you do not assess yourself as having the required clinical competence for.  You should make the Ward Manager/Senior Sister aware.

​​​​​​How can I gain the necessary competencies to work in other areas of North West London?

Our dedicated Clinical Education leads will assist you in understanding the required clinical competencies to work in different environments across the North West London region and the support packages available to help you attain those competencies.

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