Major Tony Finch REME being presented with his General Officer Commanding’s (GOC) Commendation for his support to OP RESCIPT by Major General Chris Ghika CBE GOC Household Division and London District (photo courtesy of Capt Tom Orchard).
Major Finch has been an active member of the Sussex, Kent & Medway NHS AFN since its conception 10 years ago. He said, “The work and courses I have done with the network, definitely provided me with knowledge and experience, assisting greatly in providing adapted welfare to support to both military and civilian staff”.
In March 2020, as a response to the outbreak of COVID 19 pandemic that hit Britain at pace, the Ministry of Defence enacted operation RESCRIPT. Major Tony Finch, employed at HQ LONDIST as SO2 Life Skills (formerly Retention and Transition), recognised the emergent need for a rapid development and roll out of a different type of welfare provision.
The welfare challenge was, and remains, significant and fundamental to maintaining the operational outputs. He has been professionally and personally dedicated to the responsibilities he voluntarily took on; his selfless commitment is reflected in the impact his actions have had on the wellbeing and welfare of both military and civilian members of staff. Without his leadership and hard work, there would have been little or no organised welfare support to the staff. Amongst numerous, highly sensitive, complex cases was a SP who had been diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition and would otherwise have fallen through a gap in welfare provision.
As the second and third national lockdowns took effect, Major Finch identified the challenge was different to the first – the strain and fatigue of almost 12 months of restrictions compounded and manifested in increased demands for welfare support. He pioneered new and innovative approaches including the creation of ‘The Horse Guards Herald’, a creative, informal and engaging tool for maintaining connections between the staff and fostering relationships that may otherwise wane amongst COVID restrictions. Finally, he has been using his experience and personal interest in TRiM, to contribute to the informal efforts to support the North Middlesex University Hospital Trust and London Ambulance Service in addressing the growing concerns over the ‘bow-wave’ of PTSD and operational stress in NHS front line staff.
Operation RESCRIPT has demanded unique solutions to a once in a lifetime global event. Major Finch has risen to this challenge in a proactive, dynamic and professional manner. OP RESCRIPT and HQ LONDIST personnel have been exceptionally well served by his commitment and dedication; his involvement was rewarded with formal recognition by being awarded the GOC’s Commendation.