Anthony’s Story

In his civilian career Mr McGrath is Deputy Dean of the School of Health and Social Care at London South Bank University, one of the MoD’s Gold Employer Recognition Scheme Awarded-holding employers. Yet in his military reservist career, Colonel McGrath has recently taken the post of Commanding Officer of 256 Field Hospital (City of London). He was mobilised as Senior Medical advisor on a Military Advisory Team alongside NHS staff.  Together, they planned the construction and delivery of NHS Nightingale Hospital in London’s Excel Centre in March 2020.

We asked Anthony about how his reservist experience has influenced his civilian role as Deputy Dean of Health and Social Care at London South Bank University:

My reservist role involves leadership, strategic planning, and dealing with unplanned events. The skills I have gained both at home and overseas allow me to step back, review a situation and make decisions even under pressure.

As Deputy Dean I am faced with a number of issues each day and that ability to take stock and make good decisions quickly is something I have gained from my reservist experiences. As an Army officer, I have been trained to look at problems from a variety of perspectives and to anticipate what my actions would achieve. By adopting the same principles in my civilian career, I have been able to evaluate situations and consider all options before making key decisions.

During the Covid 19 response effort I was a senior medical advisor on a Military Advisory Team working alongside senior NHS personnel, planning to build a new Nightingale Hospital. Working with the Royal Engineers, the Logistics Corps and specialist soldiers, I was involved in the strategic planning of a new hospital to take Level 3 COVID Patients.

LSBU have always been extremely supportive of my role as a reservist, not only during this response period, but throughout my time with the university. As an employer, they provide paid time off for me to undergo training, and in addition they truly value my reserve role,recognising that the skills I gain from the army are easily transferable and very useful. They value the clinical credibility I have in front of my students, thanks to my training, and to my operational deployments to both Iraq and Afghanistan in a Nursing Officer role.”

Anthony is grateful to have an employer that chose to partner with Defence, ‘The support from London Southbank University is invaluable to my commitment to my unit and my career in the Reserve,’ he said.  Because of London South Bank University’s support to the armed forces community, Anthony was able to deliver critical aid to the NHS during a time when the UK needed to come together and join forces to fight the corona virus outbreak.

“It should come as no surprise to any organisation having a proper regard for reservist service, that when a crisis shows itself, the very best who work for us step up even more. Anthony’s contribution to guiding London through COVID19 is exemplary and through his example encourages us all to do more. The University’s support for a partnership with the military is evidenced by our standing as a Gold ERS member, however the true recognition is shown by the leadership and service of individuals. Anthony has delivered both, well done from all of us at LSBU.”

London South Bank University formalised its relationship with Defence in 2017 when Vice Chancellor David Phoenix signed the Armed Forces Covenant with Lieutenant General Ben Bathurst KCVO CBE, then General Officer Commanding of London District.  The university was awarded its Silver Employer Award that same year and achieved its Gold Award in 2018 in recognition of its outstanding commitment to supporting reservists, veterans and children of military families in its staff and student bodies.

Find out more about partnering with Defence through signing the Armed forces Covenant and what mutual benefits can come from the Employer Recognition scheme. 



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