The Defence Medical Services (DMS) provide an extensive range of medical treatment and wider support for wounded Service personnel. Since 2001 we have made numerous clinical and administrative improvements to the treatment that we provide, all of which are intended to improve the quality of care that our wounded personnel receive. Where these are a consequence of operational requirements, they have been funded from the Reserve (Conflict Prevention Fund). The Government have also funded many improvements from within the Defence budget, such as £24 million of additional funding over four years for the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre (DMRC), Headley Court, announced in 2008.
For personnel on operations, the care starts in the operational theatre, with life-saving medical treatment on the frontline and in our field hospitals. Those who need further specialist care back in the UK are normally returned to the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine at Birmingham's Selly Oak Hospital, which is at the leading edge in the treatment of multiple trauma injuries as commonly sustained by our battle casualties, and has since 2006 had a military-managed ward.
If patients require further rehabilitation care they may be referred to Headley Court, or for outpatient treatment at one of MOD's 15 military Regional Rehabilitation Units. We also provide mental healthcare for those who need it, primarily through our 15 military out-patient Departments of Community Mental Health across the UK (plus centres overseas); in-patient care is arranged for those who need it.
Wider support to those who are injured is overseen by a Welfare Coordinator, who will work with appropriate specialists to offer support and advice in such areas as housing, access to services and counselling if required, as well as providing support through key transition points, such as a move to or from Headley Court.
Medical policy for the DMS is overseen by the Surgeon General's Department. However, the organisational structure of the DMS means that comprehensive budgetary planning information on medical care could be provided only at disproportionate cost as substantial elements are disaggregated and embedded in the budgets of the single Services, individual military units, and overall operational budgets.
The Ministry of Defence publishes the numbers of personnel categorised as Very Seriously Injured and Seriously Injured as a result of Operations Telic and Herrick on its website at:
The figures are updated fortnightly. In addition, we are committed to publishing on a quarterly basis the numbers of service personnel who have suffered limb amputations as a result of injuries sustained while on operational deployment. However, in order both to protect the identities of small numbers of patients and to maintain operational security for the effectiveness of our protective countermeasures, we do not routinely publish VSI and SI sub-classified by other types of physical injury.