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Hospital Facilities

Volume 451: debated on Monday 30 October 2006

Military patients are getting the very best treatment available. The Birmingham NHS hospitals that are the primary reception hospitals for operational casualties are among the best in the country. They offer specialist centres for trauma, burns, plastic surgery and neuroscience, treating civilian and military patients alike. That is why many of our armed forces doctors, surgeons and nurses work there—to help develop the skills needed for front-line missions.

Is it not the case that the treatment received by all our armed forces—soldiers, Navy, Air Force or anybody else associated with our armed forces—is second to none? I pay tribute to Headley Court for the rehabilitation work that it does. Will my hon. Friend confirm that war pensioners are entitled to priority treatment on the NHS for injuries that they have received, which demonstrates the Government’s commitment to treating our personnel with the respect that they deserve?

I join my hon. Friend in paying tribute to the excellent, close working relationship between the military and NHS medical staff. When I visited Selly Oak, I saw the excellent relationship that has developed there, allowing the best possible treatment to be provided. Injured soldiers to whom I spoke there were clear in their congratulations and appreciation for the care and treatment that they had been given. My hon. Friend is right that war pensioners who suffered injuries are entitled to priority treatment on the NHS. Periodically we remind the NHS of that, and I shall continue to do that in future.