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Armed Forces: Health Services

Volume 489: debated on Thursday 19 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent steps his Department has taken to assist service personnel seriously injured in the course of their duties. (263457)

[holding answer 16 March 2009]: The MOD takes the care and welfare of all injured service personnel very seriously, and we regularly assess ways in which we can improve the care we provide. During the last 12 months, we have completed a review of our rehabilitation services, which led to the announcement in May 2008 of an additional £24 million of funding, over the next four years, for the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre at Headley Court. The recent Healthcare Commission report into the Defence Medical Services also highlighted the exemplary level of operational healthcare and rehabilitation services.

We look forward to the relocation of the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine’s clinical facilities from Selly Oak to the new NHS hospital being built for the University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, which will start admitting patients in 2010 and will be Europe’s largest and most modern critical care teaching hospital. Casualties from operations overseas will be treated in a modern military ward within the trauma and orthopaedics division of the trust, which will have special features for the exclusive use of military patients.

In line with our commitment in last year’s Service Personnel Command Paper, we have doubled the upfront lump sum payment for the most serious injuries under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS). All recipients, according to the severity of their injuries, will have an uplift of at least 10 per cent. in upfront lump sum payments. We also intend to confer additional benefits to extend this effect to those who have already made claims under the scheme.