Military patients in NHS hospitals

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Whiskybreath, Jan 4, 2007.

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  1. Folowing the recent furore about security (and all the other issues about military patients in civilian hospitals) at Selly Oak, I fired off a query to my MP, Jeffrey Donaldson (Lagan Valley, DUP). He very commendably took immediate action in questioning the responsible Minister, keeping me informed at the time. He has now sent me the following:

    (To Jeffrey Donaldson MP
    The Old Town Hall
    29 Castle Street
    BT27 4DH )

    D/US of S/DT MC05606/2006 20 December 2006
    Thank you for your letter of 5 October (reference: JD/GC/(W. Hiskybreath)) to Des Browne, enclosing on behalf of your constituent, Mr. (Whiskybreath), regarding the closure of military hospitals in the UK. I am replying as this matter falls within my area of responsibility. Please accept my sincere apologies for the delay in replying.

    The security of our personnel admitted as in-patients is of the highest priority and remains under constant review. At Selly Oak, a strong liaison is maintained between West Midlands Police, University Hospital Birmingham Foundation Trust (UHBFT) and their Security Management Team and the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine Command Team to ensure that appropriate levels of security are provided to our personnel. For instance, we have recently added a security swipe system to those wards where military casualties are most likely to be present.

    With regard to the specific allegation your constituent refers to that a wounded paratrooper who was a patient in Selly Oak Hospital was threatened by a Muslim visitor, I have investigated this and to date there has been no report to military or hospital authorities of any such incident and patients and staff who have been questioned about this alleged incident have no knowledge of any such actual event.

    With reference to your constituent’s second point
    (concerning the general issue of closure of military hospitals), it is only through day-to-day involvement in clinical practice that medical personnel are able to maintain their skills and qualifications, enabling them to respond quickly and efficiently to a wide range of medical casualties. Given the advances in medicine and clinical practice, this range and variety of experience and activity can only be provided in a large NHS hospital.

    The decision to close military hospitals was, therefore, taken over a decade ago, after it had become clear that our existing military hospitals did not have a sufficient patient volume or range of cases to develop and maintain the skills of our medical personnel. This would, over time, impact upon the level of care we would be able to provide to our military patients. To meet this training need we have established Ministry of Defence Hospital Units (MDHUs) within NHS hospitals at Derriford, Frimley Park, Peterborough, Portsmouth, Northallerton and the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine (RCDM) at Selly Oak hospital in Birmingham.

    At the MDHUs, Service medical personnel are integrated throughout the host NHS Trust, enabling them to maintain their clinical skills in an active, up-to-date environment, while also contributing to the NHS clinical capacity. This ensures that they retain the essential qualifications allowing them to deploy quickly to areas of conflict, providing the essential medical support to frontline forces. Indeed the vast majority of the Reservist medical personnel whom we deploy to operations are NHS employees. The training they gain in their NHS jobs is indispensable for ensuring the quality of the frontline care they help to provide. Through our participation in the NHS’s Birmingham New Hospital Project, we will be part of the largest and most modern critical care unit in Europe.
    Service patients can be treated in any NHS hospital (although this will most frequently occur within those Trusts which host MDHUs), which is the most effective way of enabling them to benefit from the latest advances in medical treatment and the recent major investments in NHS facilities.

    Although Service patients are nursed with other military patients when this is clinically feasible, the over-riding factor in the treatment of any patient must be their clinical condition and need. The patient must be placed in the most appropriate specialist environment, with associated equipment and trained personnel who have the necessary skill sets.
    There has already been an increase in military nurse numbers at Selly Oak which is the primary reception hospital for operational casualties and we plan to have a military ward unit managed in partnership with the NHS and with a substantial proportion of military nursing staff in place by the end of the year. It will provide an enhanced military care environment for our patients returning from an operational theatre if it is clinically appropriate for them to be brought together on one ward. The MOD will then look at the scope for introducing the concept elsewhere.
    I trust this reply has been helpful.


    Concerning the security of military patients, it strikes me that the use of some sort of 'swipe-card' system should indeed be a necessary control of access measure in these circumstances, but I would certainly hope that it is only one of a large range of robust measures to ensure the security and safety of soldiers undergoing treatment after their experience of warfare overseas.

    (Edit: sorry, couldn't find the original thread on this...)
  2. elovabloke

    elovabloke LE Moderator

    Thanks for the feedback still waiting for mine but I presume that it will be a carbon copy of your. If so he will get an immediate responce as I am unsure why (my bold) military casualties are most likely to be present as I can distinctly remember Swiss Tony and his pals promising secure military only wards, the wording above suggests shared wards with other non AF pers. Another blatant lie to parliament and us. I to was unable to find the old thread but it is a while ago. Not bad, over 2 months for a reply. No SLA's for MP's then.