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Armed Forces: Health Services

Volume 472: debated on Monday 25 February 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how the new facilities of (a) a swimming pool and (b) a gymnasium at the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre, Headley Court will be funded. (184707)

There are currently a hydrotherapy pool and five separate gyms (four in current use) at the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre, Headley Court. One of the gyms needs to be refurbished. The unit also makes regular use of a local authority swimming pool at Leatherhead. These facilities are publicly funded.

A new charity, Help for Heroes, has offered to raise funds to build a swimming pool and gym, as part of a new rehabilitation complex at Headley Court. We warmly welcome this generous offer to enhance the unit's existing facilities. The rehabilitation of military patients on the site, which is itself owned by a charitable trust, has for many years benefited from charitable donations and it is entirely appropriate that such funding should be blended with public funding in this way. We shall work closely with the charity as its proposals are developed.

We would expect Headley Court to take charge of the management of the new rehabilitation complex, including the provision of military or civilian staff to man it.

We are also continuing to invest significantly from public funds in new buildings. We opened a new 30-bed ward annex last year (costing £1.7 million). Work is now starting on a 58-bed accommodation block for patients and staff (costing about £4 million). We are also considering a longer term development plan to improve accommodation and clinical facilities across the site, and thus maintain the first-class capability that Headley Court currently offers.