News story: World-class medical services for UK armed forces

Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall formally dedicated the new home of defence medical training, Defence Medical Services (Whittington), yesterday (8 May 2014), marking the completion of a major building project.

Investment of some £138 million has transformed the centre into a unified headquarters for the Defence Medical Services (DMS), bringing together all defence medical training into one specialist site. The final stage of this project saw the relocation of the Defence College of Health Education and Training (DCHET) to Whittington earlier this year.

The new complex provides a range of training facilities including a learning centre, library and lecture theatre, 736 new bed spaces within the living accommodation for permanent staff and trainees, and a junior ranks dining and welfare facility.

The Surgeon General, Air Marshal Paul Evans, said:

Today celebrated significant milestones, including the completion of the building project which has transformed this site into a world-class centre of excellence for defence medical training with state-of-the-art facilities.

Around 7,000 trainees and students will now be able to develop their medical training every year at DMS’s new site, which includes a lecture theatre and training ward.

And the DCHET will ensure that defence medical personnel have the skills they need to deliver best practice healthcare to those serving in the UK armed forces.

The Duchess of Cornwall meets medical staff
The Duchess of Cornwall meets medical staff at Defence Medical Services (Whittington) [Picture: Corporal Barry Lloyd, Crown copyright]

Dr Dan Poulter, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Health, said:

The armed forces put their lives on the line for our country every day, and we have a duty to provide them with the best health facilities possible.

This new world-class centre will help enhance the medical training delivered to our armed forces personnel and ensure they receive the care they deserve.

The Midlands medical accommodation project saw the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) and its industry partners work closely with the Surgeon General’s office and Joint Medical Command to transform the former Whittington Barracks, near Lichfield .

More than 1,100 service personnel are based at the new site, delivering high quality medical support to the armed forces. The facility establishes the west Midlands as the central focus for DMS.

It brings together a full range of DMS services and training with care for service operational casualties in nearby Birmingham at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust.

Air Vice-Marshal Elaine West, Director Programme and Project Delivery at DIO, said:

DIO’s priority is to support our armed forces by providing the facilities and services they need to live, work and train. I am delighted that DIO has delivered top-quality facilities at Whittington which will serve the needs of Defence Medical Services for many years to come.

The project is an excellent example of how DIO works in partnership with industry as it seeks to get full value from our investment, whilst supporting military capability to best effect.

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