Ministry of Defence
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Surgeon General responds to Healthcare Commission review of military medical care

Surgeon General responds to Healthcare Commission review of military medical care

MINISTRY OF DEFENCE News Release (044 / 2009) issued by COI News Distribution Service. 2 March 2009

The Ministry of Defence today welcomed the Healthcare Commission's first ever review of Defence Medical Services (DMS). The independent report praised the MoD's trauma care and rehabilitation facilities as 'exemplary.'

The Healthcare Commission commended the quality of care provided to service personnel in challenging operational environments, highlighting the ability to quickly reach and treat casualties. Innovations in the treatment of major injuries and the design of our field hospitals are also praised.

The Healthcare Commission highlighted the quality of the rehabilitation services we offer at the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre at Headley Court and at our Regional Rehabilitation Units.

The Healthcare Commission's review was conducted at the invitation of the Armed Forces' Surgeon General Lieutenant General Louis Lillywhite, who is responsible for healthcare delivered to the Royal Navy, Army and RAF, and their dependents overseas and in the UK. This model of external audit will be continued in future.

The report identified certain areas where DMS can improve, such as the maintenance and cleanliness of some medical centres and the need to introduce new ambulances in Cyprus.

Commenting on today's report, Surgeon General Lillywhite said:

"I am grateful to the Healthcare Commission for carrying out their independent assessment of Defence Medical Services. This review rightly praises areas where we are delivering first class medical care and will help us meet the high standards our servicemen and women deserve by driving through improvement where needed.

"The review has endorsed the excellent care we offer our personnel injured on operations, particularly our trauma care, our ability to reach and treat casualties and the training we give our deployed medical personnel. This is testament to the professionalism and courage of our medical staff that deploy to Iraq and Afghanistan and to the dedication of the individuals and organizations back in the UK who support them. As the Healthcare Commission has suggested, I have already started discussions with NHS colleagues to plan how we shall share our best practice.

"The review also recommended improvements be made in certain areas. Action has already been taken to deliver improvements. I have appointed an Inspector General, Surgeon Rear Admiral Philip Raffaelli, who will ensure that all recommendations made in this review are implemented in full."

The Ministry of Defence is committed to meeting all the Healthcare Commission's recommendations. We have already remedied a number of the more serious problems identified in our infrastructure, we are working on the rest and will carry out a review of our other facilities to identify and address any similar deficiencies. Action is also underway to replace all our ambulances in Cyprus by July this year.

Notes to Editors

1. The Healthcare Commission carried out their review of Defence Medical Services between June and December 2008. The review assessed the care provided to Armed Forces personnel and their dependents in the UK, at bases overseas and in operational theatres.

2. The report will be available to view online from Monday at the Healthcare Commission's website http://www.healthcarecommission.org.uk/homepage.cfm

3. For further information, please contact Paul Leat in the MoD Press Office on 0207 218 7931.

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