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Armed Forces: Health Services

Volume 464: debated on Tuesday 16 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will undertake a review of the provision of post-operative rehabilitation services available to members of the armed forces who have suffered injury while carrying out their duties; and if he will make a statement. (158716)

MOD has excellent medical rehabilitation services. If military patients require further rehabilitation care following initial hospital treatment, they may be referred to the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre (DMRC) at Headley Court in Surrey, which is the principal medical rehabilitation centre run by the armed forces and widely praised for its work. DMRC provides both physiotherapy and group rehabilitation for complex musculo-skeletal injuries, plus neuro-rehabilitation for brain-injured patients, after they have completed their hospital care.

In exceptional circumstances, where specialist care is required that cannot be provided at Headley Court, such as cases of severe brain trauma, patients may be referred to specialist facilities in either NHS or private facilities.

The Complex Rehabilitation and Amputee Unit, based within DMRC, provides high quality prosthetics and adaptations, manufactured on site and individually tailored as necessary to the specific patient. Priority is given to the provision of prosthetics to enable service personnel to resume service duties. In July 2007, I opened officially a new 30-bed annex at Headley Court, providing accommodation for low-dependency patients.

Personnel with less serious musculo-skeletal injuries may also be referred to one of MOD’s 15 Regional Rehabilitation Units in the UK and Germany, which provide accessible, regionally-based assessment and treatment, including physiotherapy and group rehabilitation facilities. They are staffed by specially trained doctors, physiotherapists and rehabilitation instructors, and enable patients to be assessed and treated in a timely fashion, with the aim of returning them to operational fitness when this is clinically possible.