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Hospital care

NHS and military medics working together

All hospital care is provided by the NHS. This includes emergency and elective care.

Since 2001, the main treatment centre for military patients seriously injured has been the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine (RCDM).

The RCDM is based at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham (QEHB), which is part of University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, and is the primary receiving hospital for service personnel injured on operations.

The QEHB also offers non-urgent admissions to service personnel based in England through the NHS e-Referral Service. These elective cases are managed in line with normal NHS procedures and waiting times. 

Military casualties

The main arrival points for military casualties are Birmingham International Airport and RAF Brize Norton, with which UHB has good transport links.

QEHB staff are highly experienced in treating the most common types of injuries to service personnel, such as polytrauma (where someone has suffered multiple traumatic injuries).

Casualties arriving for treatment at QEHB are either placed on a trauma ward or taken straight to intensive care, depending on the severity of their injuries.

Medical notes, images, scans and lab results will be sent ahead of the patient, so by the time they arrive, members of the clinical team at QEHB will have already planned their treatment.

The QEHB military ward is in a designated trauma and orthopaedics ward, where up to 32 military patients are cared for in single rooms or four-bed bays.

The ward has additional features for the use of service personnel only. These cater for their specific requirements and boost the military atmosphere.

It has more staff (both military and civilian) than a normal NHS ward, plus a quiet room for relatives, communal space for patients, and a physiotherapy suite.

Patients get regular visits from defence medical welfare services, who deal with their day-to-day needs and maintain links with their units.

Routine hospital care

For service personnel based in England, non-urgent and routine procedures can be accessed at any NHS hospital through the NHS e-Referral Service.

These admissions will adhere to normal NHS procedures and waiting times, and the amount of choice available may be subject to certain operational criteria.

Page last reviewed: 24/06/2015

Next review due: 30/06/2017