British Army - Combat Service Support - Army Medical Services - Defence Medical Services Department - DMSD - Royal Centre for Defence Medicine RCDM - Royal Army Medical Corps RAMC - QARANC - RADC Royal Army Dental Corps - RAVC Veterinary Corps - Service Health Professions - a10a6 -Armed Forces 




"Stop dying at once and when you get up, get your bloody hair cut".


Colonel AD Wintle to Trooper Cedric Mayes (Royal Dragoons) The patient lived for another 40 years




DMSD is the headquarters for the Defence Medical Services. The clinical director of the DMSD is the Surgeon General (SG). DMSD is a Joint Service organisation with personnel from all three services and MoD Civil Servants working together to ensure “Provision of strategic direction to the Defence Medical Services to ensure coherent delivery of all medical outputs".

Single Service Medical Care

The three armed forces maintain their own medical services that provide medical support worldwide in both peace and war.

Royal Naval Medical Service (RNMS)
Army Medical Services (AMS)
Royal Air Forces Medical Services (RAF MS)

Hospital Care

In the UK, hospital care is provided at Ministry of Defence Hospital Units (MDHU).

The Defence Medical Services Department (DMSD) has contracts with the NHS for provision of care in MDHUs, which are run as military units embedded within selected NHS hospitals. There are MDHUs at Derriford (Plymouth), Frimley Park (Aldershot), Northallerton (near Catterick), Peterborough and Portsmouth.

In addition, the Defence Medical Services runs a number of other units which include the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine (Birmingham) and the Defence Services Medical Rehabilitation Centre (Headley Court). There are also two military hospitals, one in Cyprus and the other in Gibraltar.

In Iraq the ‘Role 3’ Field Hospital at Shaibah provides medical support that includes primary surgery, an intensive care unit, medium and low dependency nursing care beds and diagnostic support, as well as emergency medical care.

Service personnel serving in Germany who require hospital care are treated in one of the five German Provider Hospitals.


The RCDM in Birmingham provides a centre for military personnel requiring specialised care, and incorporates a facility for the treatment of service personnel who have been evacuated from an overseas deployment area after becoming ill or wounded/injured. RCDM also acts as a centre for the training of Defence Medical Service personnel.

In operation since 2001 the RCDM operates on a contract between the DMSD and the University Hospitals Birmingham (UHB) NHS Trust.

The RCDM is a Joint Service establishment with medical personnel from all three of the armed services wearing their respective Naval, Army, or Air Force uniforms.


Medical support to members of the British Army is provided by the Army Medical Services which consists of the following Corps:

Royal Army Medical Corps
Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps
Royal Army Dental Corps
Royal Army Veterinary Corps



In peace, the personnel of the RAMC are based at the various medical installations throughout the world or in field force units and they are responsible for the health of the Army.

During early 2009 the RAMC had a regular Army establishment of some 3,354 personnel and a strength of 2,890.


The primary role of the Corps is the maintenance of health and the prevention of disease. On operations, the RAMC is responsible for the care of the sick and wounded, with the subsequent evacuation of the wounded to hospitals in the rear areas. Each Brigade has a medical squadron which is a regular unit that operates in direct support of the Battlegroups. These units are either armoured, airmobile or parachute trained. In addition, each division has two TA field ambulance units that provide medical support for the divisional troops and can act as manoeuvre units for the forward brigades when required.

Force Structure

All medical squadrons have medical sections that consist of a medical officer and eight Combat Medical Technicians. These sub units are located with the Battlegroup or units being supported and they provide the necessary first line medical support. In addition, the field ambulance provides a dressing station where casualties are treated and may be resuscitated or stabilised before transfer to a field hospital. These units have the necessary integral ambulance support, both armoured and wheeled to transfer casualties from the first to second line medical units.

Field hospitals may be regular or TA and all are 200 bed facilities with a maximum of 8 surgical teams capable of carrying out life-saving operations on some of the most difficult surgical cases. Since 1990, most regular medical units have been deployed on operations either in Iraq, Afghanistan or the former Yugoslavia.

Casualty Evacuation (CASEVAC) is by ambulance either armoured or wheeled and driven by RLC personnel or by helicopter when such aircraft are available. A Chinook helicopter is capable of carrying 44 stretcher cases and a Puma can carry 6 stretcher cases and 6 sitting cases.

In early 2009 there were 5 x regular medical regiments and three field hospitals. The TA provides 12 x independent field hospitals, 2 x General Support Medical Regiments and 1 x Casualty Evacuation Regiment. During early 2009 the RAMC had a regular Army establishment of some 3,354 personnel and a strength of 2,890.


The QARANC is an all nursing and totally professionally qualified Corps. Its male and female, officer and other rank personnel, provide the necessary qualified nursing support at all levels and cover a wide variety of nursing specialities. QARANC personnel can be found anywhere in the world where Army Medical Services are required.

During early 2009 the QARANC personnel total was approximately 830 all ranks.


The RADC is a professional corps that in mid 2004 consisted of 395 officers and soldiers. The Corps fulfils the essential role of maintaining the dental health of the Army in peace and war, both at home and overseas. Qualified dentists and oral surgeons, hygienists, technicians and support ancillaries work in a wide variety of military units from static and mobile dental clinics to field medical units, military hospitals and dental laboratories.

During early 2009 the RADC strength was approximately 380 all ranks (approximately 110 officers).


The RAVC look after the many animals that the Army has on strength. Veterinary tasks in today's army are mainly directed towards guard or search dogs and horses for ceremonial duties. Personnel total in early 2009 was 280.