Armed Forces: Health Services

Defence written question – answered on 30th March 2010.

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Photo of Alistair Carmichael Alistair Carmichael Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Scotland), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Northern Ireland)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much funding has been allocated to UK rehabilitation centres for wounded servicemen and women in each of the last five years; and how much such funding is planned for the next three years.

Photo of Kevan Jones Kevan Jones Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence) (Veterans)

The Defence Medical Services manage an extensive armed forces rehabilitation network which meets a wide range of requirements for rehabilitation treatment, including treatment for operational casualties. The network includes primary care rehabilitation facilities and 13 regional rehabilitation units (RRUs) in the UK, as well as the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre at Headley Court in Surrey, where seriously wounded servicemen and women are normally treated following the completion of their secondary care.

Funding for the treatment of wounded personnel has been, and will continue to be, made available to match clinical requirements, including surges in casualty numbers. Our future budgetary plans assume a continuing need for additional investment in facilities and staff at Headley Court. Comprehensive financial data for the past five years are not readily available.

Headley Court has received steadily increased investment in facilities and staff over recent years. The unit's operating costs, including estate management, are about £20.4 million in the current financial year, as compared with some £10.7 million (actual costs) in 2005-06. Significant new facilities brought into service over recent years, at an additional total cost of about £7.5 million, include a 30-bed ward annexe (May 2007), a 58-bed staff and patient accommodation block (January 2009) and the new Centre for Mental and Cognitive Health (opened last spring). For many years the Headley Court estate, which is owned by a charitable trust, has also benefited from additional funding of projects by that trust and other charities.

In addition to funding the projects just listed, we announced in May 2008 an extra £24 million in capital funding over the next four years for a Headley Court development programme. Over the first two years (i.e. up to April 2010) this funding is being mainly applied to the Ministry of Defence (MOD) contribution to the Help for Heroes rehabilitation complex, which will come into service in a few weeks, and a utilities upgrade for the whole site. Assessment work has also started on a project to re-develop the clinical areas, which would replace and expand the unit's current ward bed capacity (66 beds) and deliver other benefits, with an expected completion date in late 2011. As a prudent contingency measure, we are also providing additional ward accommodation of up to 30 ward beds later this year.

On 11 February the MOD launched the new Army Recovery Capability in partnership with Help for Heroes and The Royal British Legion as well as other service charities. The ARC marks a further step forward in the support to our armed forces and will ensure the best possible care and management is provided to our wounded, sick and injured personnel. The MOD is investing around £30 million over the next four years to fund the Army Recovery Capability. This will include the provision of military and civil service personnel to co-ordinate, manage and deliver the Army Recovery Capability, including the personnel recovery centres.

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