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Armed Forces: Medical Services

Volume 692: debated on Wednesday 13 June 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What plans they have to improve the capability of the military-managed ward and the care available for military patients at the National Health Service Selly Oak Hospital. [HL4012]

First-class treatment is provided to our patients at Selly Oak by NHS and military doctors and nurses. The military-managed ward achieved initial operating capability, with 24 military nurses assigned to it, before Christmas. It will achieve full operating capability, with 39 military nurses in post, this summer.

Working together with the NHS, we have introduced a wide range of improvements to the clinical and nursing care and the welfare arrangements provided for military patients in the Birmingham area. Alongside the Defence Medical Welfare Service, which supports patients and relatives, there are two embedded military formation liaison officers, who maintain the linkage between patients, next of kin and the patient’s military unit.

We and the NHS respond to concerns expressed by patients and will make further improvements as and when necessary. We accept that military patients would prefer to be nursed together. This happens where that is clinically appropriate. The works project under way in the military-managed ward will partition off a section of the ward to help that to be achieved. The project should be completed shortly.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What targets are in place to ensure that the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine will be recognised internationally as a centre of excellence by 2010. [HL4013]

Since its establishment in 2001, the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine (RCDM) has made substantial progress towards the achievement of that goal, in terms of the quality of training provided, the delivery of healthcare to patients, whether civilian or military, and the research work undertaken. The association with the Birmingham New Hospital project, which is due for completion around the turn of the decade, will also make a major contribution to the development of the RCDM.

Against that background, we are considering what performance indicators or benchmarks should now be put in place to enable independent authorities, as well as ourselves, to be satisfied that our vision of the RCDM as an internationally recognised centre of excellence has been achieved. The specific targets will be published in due course.