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Coming soon: national rehabilitation centre for injured Service personnel

Coming soon: national rehabilitation centre for injured Service personnel


18 Jul, 2018

Ahmed Al-Nahhas, a partner in the Military Claims Team at specialist claims solicitors, Bolt Burdon Kemp, has news about the Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre (DNRC) due to open at the Stanford Hall estate, just outside of Loughborough, this autumn …

The DNRC, anew East Midlands-based rehabilitation centre for British service personnel, will begin transferringpatients from Hedley Court in Surrey, which was first established as an RAF base in 1949. Hedley Court has provided dedicated care for recovering personnel from all three services for almost 70 years, but has in more recent years struggled with the need for significant refurbishment, space and modernisation. It is also not geographically suited to the needs of all the Services, and a location in the Midlands was thought to be more cost effective for the new centre. 

Like Hedley Court, the purpose of the DNRC will be to help return Service personnel to fitness through clinical rehabilitation. This is the process of assessing, treating and supporting patients, to help return them to good physical and mental function. It involves a multi-disciplinary approach, with medical experts in different fields working as a team. 

The new centre, which will have cost some £300 million on completion, has been funded and driven primarily by the generosity of the 6th Duke of Westminster and his family, but also by a variety of fundraising initiatives, charities, private businesses and individuals. No public money was used to purchase the site or build the complex, although the Ministry of Defence will assume the running costs once the new centre begins its work.

The DNRC should be a remarkable new facility, and will benefit from the latest technology and facilities, including:

  • a state-of-the-art prosthetics lab, which will create prosthetics using a 3D printer, bespoke to the individual patients and their needs
  • a Computer Assisted Rehabilitation Environment (CAREN), which uses virtual reality to help respond to patients’ movements
  • a ‘gait laboratory’, which will provide biomechanical analysis of patients trying to return to efficient walking and running habits through the use of 3D computer modelling
  • a unit specifically designed to treat and assess patients suffering long-term brain injury following serious trauma, such as victims of IEDs
  • a dedicated mental health facility with provision for welfare services
  • various modern gyms and a swimming pool.

Patients will not only benefit from the high standard of equipment, but also the concentration of medical experts who excel in treating serious trauma, which will help encourage further innovation in treatment techniques. 

It is also hoped that this expertise will benefit the wider community, with plans for a nearby civilian facility under the management of Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust being explored. The DNRC hopes to become a national centre for training and education, which will contribute on an international level to excellence in healthcare. 

Because of the inherent risks of combat, Service personnel can suffer from harrowing injuries, which can be both physical and psychological in nature, and are often life changing. Service personnel put their health and lives at risk, and should have the very best treatment. Such personnel are also huge assets, often highly trained and experienced. They should be given every opportunity to return to fitness so that they can continue to serve and pass on their experience. With the number of service personnel at a historic low, this is now more important than ever. With the new DNRC, we may have achieved the means to make this happen.

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