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Armed Forces: Health Services

Volume 457: debated on Thursday 8 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether facilities are being made available for treatment of Iraq and Afghanistan military casualties in addition to those at Selly Oak Hospital. (119390)

Since April 2001, the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine (RCDM) at University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHBFT) has been the main centre for the receipt of UK armed forces casualties aeromedically evacuated from all over the world, including Iraq and Afghanistan. UHBFT runs the Selly Oak and Queen Elizabeth hospital sites. In a few individual cases, operational casualties have been placed initially for clinical reasons in other hospitals in the Birmingham area and elsewhere, but UHBFT has the capacity to cope with surges in the number of military casualties. In the event of a significant casualty surge, the MOD and UHBFT would jointly manage the receipt under the existing reception arrangements for military patients (RAMP) plan.

Patients with moderate/minor musculoskeletal injuries, once they have been assessed and provided with a working diagnosis and a planned care pathway, may be referred to the MOD regional rehabilitation unit most convenient for access from the patient's home or parent unit. There are 15 such units throughout the UK and Germany.

In addition, patients who have received their initial treatment at Birmingham may subsequently be transferred from there to another NHS hospital nearer to their home or parent unit. Patients with multiple injuries (including amputees and those with brain injury) will be transferred at the appropriate stage of their treatment to a rehabilitation facility for further specialist treatment. Dependent on clinical need, this referral is most likely to be to the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre at Headley Court, Surrey.