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Armed Forces: Health Services

Volume 475: debated on Thursday 15 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many military personnel had rehabilitation treatment at the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre, Headley Court in each of the last five years; (184705)

(2) how many service personnel had rehabilitation treatment at the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre, Headley Court after their return from (a) Iraq and (b) Afghanistan in each of the last five years.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many personnel were treated at Headley Court Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre in each year since 2004. (199495)

Headley Court records the total number of ‘patient episodes’, i.e. the number of reviews (of which there may be many) of individual patients, as well as new patient referrals. The total numbers of such episodes over the last five financial years are shown in the following table:

In-patients

Out-patients

Total

2003-04

1,963

2,607

4,570

2004-05

1,544

2,913

4,457

2005-06

1,408

3,093

4,501

2006-07

1,685

4,219

5,904

2007-08

1,885

4,825

6,710

These statistics require further explanation. Patient referrals cover a wide range of injuries. Furthermore, as well as serving as the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre (its core task), Headley Court is also the Regional Rehabilitation Unit for London and Overseas.

Over the period covered by these statistics, there has been an increase in military operational tempo. This has led to an increase in patient activity overall and a more complex patient group requiring repeat admission to Headley Court. There have been changes in the balance between the numbers of patients requiring a ward bed and those who do not, including an increase in specialist clinics such as consultant-led visiting clinics and prosthetic clinics.

The increase in ward beds to the current total of 66 (through the addition of a 30-bed temporary ward annexe in May 2007) and improved ways of working have helped to enable the increased throughput of patients. However, it continues to be the case that most injuries treated at Headley Court have not been sustained on current operations in Afghanistan or Iraq. As an example, on 2 May, 46 ward beds were occupied, of which 23 were occupied by service personnel earlier evacuated from Afghanistan and Iraq. Most of the non-ward bed spaces (around 110 in total) are occupied by in-patients on a regular basis, but mainly by patients who have sustained injuries elsewhere.

However, information requested by operated theatre could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many armed forces personnel have been referred to (a) a regional rehabilitation unit and (b) Headley Court in each year since 2003. (200941)

The following table shows the total number of new patient referrals, for a course of treatment, of armed forces personnel to all 15 of MOD's Regional Rehabilitation Units (RRUs). Full figures are not available for 2003-04.

1 April to 31 March

Number of new patient referrals

2004-05

4,320

2005-06

6,122

2006-07

7,168

2007-08

7,312

It should be noted that patient referrals cover a wide range of injuries, only a minority of which have been sustained on current operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

For total patient referrals to Headley Court, I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him and my hon. Friend the Member for Nottingham, South (Alan Simpson) today.

As well as having the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre as its core task, Headley Court has also hosted the Regional Rehabilitation Unit for London and overseas patients (if they are not treated by the one of the two RRUs located in Germany). Figures for referrals to the Headley Court RRU are included in the answer referred to previously, as well as in the table. These figures could be separated out only at disproportionate cost.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with reference to his announcement of 6 May 2008, what the source of funding for the £24 million to be provided to the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre Headley Court is. (204572)