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Armed Forces: Health Services

Volume 495: debated on Friday 3 July 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on what date the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine is expected to start delivering services in Birmingham. (282933)

The Royal Centre for Defence Medicine (RCDM) was established at Selly Oak Hospital, Birmingham, in April 2001 and has been the principal reception point for military casualties evacuated to the UK since then. A military managed ward was established at Selly Oak in late 2006 and achieved full operating capability in July 2007. The military ward concept, with additional facilities, will be carried over to the new Queen Elizabeth Hospital being built in Edgbaston. We expect that the new ward will start receiving patients in June 2010 and that other elements of the RCDM will be operational in the new hospital by 2011.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the new (a) staff and patient accommodation block, (b) prosthetic limb workshop and (c) neurological laboratory at the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre Headley Court is to be (i) completed and (ii) open for use. (282934)

A new 58-bed staff and patient accommodation block (Wood House), enhancing existing accommodation facilities, was completed in December 2008 and opened for use in January 2009. A programme of refurbishment continues for the remainder of the living accommodation.

There has been a prosthetic limb workshop in use at Headley Court since June 2006; planning for a replacement facility is under consideration.

The new Centre for Mental and Cognitive Health was completed in April and opened for use in May 2009.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what (a) financial and (b) other arrangements his Department has put in place to support families visiting patients at (i) the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine's clinical facilities at Selly Oak and (ii) other defence medical facilities in the Midlands. (283344)

We recognise that welfare support for both our Service personnel and their families is one of our key responsibilities and one that is taken very seriously by the MOD. To this end, when Service personnel are hospitalised, depending upon the severity of their condition, their families are provided with travel and accommodation at public expense to allow them to be with their loved one at such a difficult time. Each family is also allocated a Visiting Officer whose main role is to liaise between the family and the military to ensure they receive the most appropriate support from the many specialist welfare providers such as Defence Medical Welfare Service and the single-Service specialist welfare services.