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Medical Services

Volume 450: debated on Tuesday 24 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what assessment he has made of the impact of the closure of military hospitals on the standard of medical support for service personnel; (94485)

(2) what assessment he has made of the merits of opening new military hospitals.

The decisions to close all UK military hospitals were taken in the last decade, and remain valid today. It had become clear that the existing military hospitals did not have a sufficient patient volume or range of cases to develop and maintain the skills of our medical personnel. This would, over time, have reduced the level of care the Defence Medical Services (DMS) would be able to provide to our military patients both in peacetime and, crucially, on deployed operations.

The creation of Ministry of Defence Hospital Units in NHS hospitals has ensured the high standard of medical support to Service personnel kept pace with the advances in medical practice. Equally, the relatively low total number of military in-patients would barely fill two military wards and is insufficient to justify a dedicated military hospital.