Armed Forces: Royal Centre for Defence Medicine

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:11 pm on 10 October 2006.

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Photo of Lord Drayson Lord Drayson Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Defence Procurement), Ministry of Defence, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence) (Procurement) 3:11, 10 October 2006

My Lords, the House will remember that the decision to close the military hospitals was taken by the previous Government. That decision was right. Experience has taught us that high standards are maintained only by maintaining the experience of clinical personnel by carrying out clinical care. The level of casualties that we have to look after in the military is, thank God, not large enough to sustain full-scale military hospitals. On any given day, we have in hospital fewer than 50 in-patients from the military. That is for all cases, of any type. The most efficient way for people to be cared for, therefore, is in specialist military hospital units within the NHS. You need a large NHS hospital with all its clinical experience, facilities and the range of know-how properly to look after our soldiers. That is garnered only in an NHS hospital.