ARMY MEDICAL SERVICES
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
The Army Medical Services is the army single service element of the Defence
Medical Services (DMS). It is certain that without the superb support provided
by the Defence Medical Services in both Iraq and Afghanistan, a large number of
service personnel who would have been unlikely to have survived their wounds in
earlier conflicts are still alive today.
THE ROYAL ARMY MEDICAL CORPS (RAMC)
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.
There are 6 x regular medical regiments and 3 x field hospitals. The reserves
provide 13 x field hospitals, 1 x Support Medical Regiment and 1 x Casualty Evacuation
In late 2015 our estimate of the regular personnel strength of
the RAMC is 2,900 officers and soldiers.
During late 2015 the structure
of the regular and reserve units of the RAMC is as follows:
|1 Armoured Medical Regiment||101
Logistic Bde||Tidworth (From Germany
|2 Medical Regiment||102
Logistic Bde||North Luffenham|
|3 Medical Regiment||102
|4 Armoured Medical Regiment||101
|5 Armoured Medical Regiment||101
|16 Close Support Medical Regiment||16
Air Assault Bde||Colchester|
|22 Field Hospital||2
|33 Field Hospital||2
|34 Field Hospital||2
Irish) Medical Regiment||Belfast||Limavady,
(East of England) Medical Regiment||Cambridge||Ditton,
Colchester, Norwich, Hitchin, Brentwood|
(Northern) Field Hospital||Newcastle||Newton
Aycliffe, Stockton on Tees, Newcastle|
(Midlands) Field Hospital||Birmingham||Coventry,
Stoke-on-Trent, Shrewsbury, Abingdon|
(Welsh) Field Hospital||Cardiff||Swansea,
Crickhowell, Colwyn Bay, Cardiff|
(North Irish) Field Hospital||Belfast||Portadown,
|205 (Scottish) Field
Dundee, Edinburgh, Inverness, Glasgow|
(Manchester) Field Hospital||Manchester||Stockport,
Bury, Chorley, Manchester|
(Liverpool) Field Hospital||Liverpool||Liverpool,
Chester, Blackpool, Lancaster|
(Yorkshire) Field Hospital||Sheffield||Leeds,
York, Nottingham, Lincoln, Hull|
(Wessex) Field Hospital||Keynsham||Gloucester,
Exeter, Plymouth, Truro, Portsmouth|
(City of London) Field Hospital||Walworth||Kensington,
Kingston upon Thames, Brighton|
Hospital Support Regiment||Strensall||Strensall|
|335 Medical Evacuation Regiment||Strensall||Strensall|
|Army Medical Services Operational Support
of the reserve units are part of 2 Medical Brigade and many are paired with regular
units. (See table below).
HQ 2nd Medical
Field Hospital||Major Medical Facility||Aldershot||202
(Midlands) Field Hospital (R)|
(Birmingham); 207 (Manchester) Field Hospital
(R) (Manchester); 208 (Liverpool) Field Hospital (R) (Liverpool)
|33 Field Hospital||Major
(Welsh) Field Hospital (R)|
(Cardiff); 243 (Wessex) Field Hospital (R) (Bristol);
256 (City of London) Field Hospital (R) (Walworth)
Field Hospital||Major Medical Facility||Strensall||201
(Northern) Field Hospital (R)|
(Newcastle-upon-Tyne); 204 (North Irish) Field
Hospital (R) (Belfast); 205 (Scottish) Field Hospital (R) (Glasgow); 212 (Yorkshire)
Field Hospital (R)
Hospital Support Regiment (R)||Reserve
|335 Medical Evacuation Regiment (R)||Reserve
|Operational HQ Support Group (R)||Reserve
|Note: 225 Field Hospital (Dundee)
and 254 Field Hospital (Cambridge) are both under the command of 102 Logistic
Brigade (part of the Adaptable Force – 1 UK Division).|
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. This is achieved by the provision of Close Support Medical
Regiments (to treat front line casualties) and General Support Medical Regiments
where more major procedures can be carried out some distance behind the front
line, before evacuation to a Field Hospital where a full range of medical facilities
Each Brigade in 3 UK Division (the Reaction Force) has
a medical regiment which is generally a regular unit (in some cases this may be
a hybrid unit) that operates in direct support of the battle groups. These units
are either armoured, airmobile or parachute trained. There are generally extra
medical squadrons that provide support at the divisional level; once again these
squadrons can be either regular or reserve. These squadrons provide medical support
for the divisional troops and can act as manoeuvre units for the forward brigades
All medical squadrons have medical sections that consist
of a Medical Officer and a number of Combat Medical Technicians (eight). These
sub units are located with the battlegroup or units being supported and they provide
the necessary first line medical support. In addition, they provide 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 reserve and are
generally 200 bed facilities with a maximum of eight surgical teams capable of
carrying out life saving operations on some of the most difficult surgical cases.
Since 1990 regular medical units have been deployed on operations in the Persian
Gulf, the Former Yugoslavia, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan and Iraq.
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 24 stretcher cases and a Puma can carry six stretcher cases
and six sitting cases.
ARMY MEDICAL SERVICES
Medical support to members of the British
Army is provided by the Army Medical Services which consists of the following
Royal Army Medical Corps
Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing
Royal Army Dental Corps
Royal Army Veterinary Corps
Army Medical Services is the army single service element of the Defence Medical
Services (DMS) . There is more information regarding the Defence Medical Services
in the Joint Service Chapter.
It is certain that without the superb support
provided by the Defence Medical Services in both Iraq and Afghanistan, a large
number of service personnel who would have been unlikely to have survived their
wounds in earlier conflicts are still alive today.
THE QUEEN ALEXANDRA'S ROYAL ARMY NURSING CORPS (QARANC)
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
During early 2015 the QARANC personnel total was approximately
800 all ranks.
ROYAL ARMY DENTAL CORPS (RADC)
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.
The RADC personnel total is believed to be approximately 300.
THE ROYAL ARMY VETERINARY CORPS (RAVC)
The RAVC look after the many animals that the Army has on strength. Veterinary
tasks in today's army are mainly directed towards the army's 550 guard or search
dogs and its 460 horses for ceremonial duties. Personnel totals believed to be
in the region of 320.
DEFENCE MEDICAL SERVICES (DMS) JOINT
The Defence Medical Services include the whole of the medical, dental, nursing,
health professional, paramedical, veterinary and support personnel (about 7,000
uniformed personnel) including civilian staff, employed by the three Armed Services.
These elements are responsible for providing healthcare to service personnel serving
in the UK, overseas and on operations. In addition and where appropriate, the
families of service personnel and entitled civilians (possibly about 260,000 people).
DMS also provides some aspects of healthcare to other countries’ personnel overseas,
in both permanent military bases and in areas of conflict and war zones.
The range of services provided by the Defence Medical Services includes:
Services also provide healthcare in a range of facilities, including medical and
dental centres, regional rehabilitation units and in field hospitals.
The Deputy Chief of Defence Staff - Health (DCDS(H) is accountable for
the overall outputs of the Defence Medical Services.
The Surgeon General
is the professional head of the Defence Medical Services and
the healthcare and medical operational capability. His responsibilities include
defining the standard and quality of healthcare needed in both operational and
non-operational environments and assuring its delivery. He is also responsible
for setting the strategy and the associated (non-clinical) policies for the Defence
These two senior officers oversee the work of three
(1) The Defence Medical Services Department (DMSD) is the headquarters for the
Defence Medical Services providing strategic direction to ensure delivery of defence
medical outputs. The DMSD operates through the following four directorates: Medical
Operations; Medical Policy; Healthcare; Finance and Secretariat.
Joint Medical Command (JMC) – This is a joint service agency providing secondary
care personnel to meet requirements for operational deployments. It also supports
the front line units by educating and training medical personnel through the Defence
Medical and Training Agency (DEMTA). DMETA runs about 2,000 clinical courses (providing
about 300,000 training days) to all three services. JMC has responsibility for
(Ministry of Defence Hospital Units)
(The Royal Centre for Defence Medicine)
(The Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre at Headley Court
DMSTC (The Defence Medical Services
Training Centre in Aldershot
Defence Medical Postgraduate Deanery
JMC provides a single headquarters responsible for healthcare delivery.
(3) Defence Dental Services (DDS) – this is a joint service organisation employing
both Armed Forces and civilian personnel that provides dental services in the
UK at service establishments and to personnel on operations overseas. The DDS
came under the ‘umbrella’ of the JMC from mid 2009.
The three armed services are responsible for delivering
primary healthcare to their respective services and for providing the required
medical support on operations.
Royal Naval Medical Service (RNMS)
Army Medical Services (AMS)
Royal Air Forces Medical Services (RAF MS)
Late 2014 regular and reserve personnel figures are as follows:
DMS Regular personnel 7,990
DMS Reserve personnel 2,910
On operations, nursing staff and medical officers from
all three services deliver primary and emergency care at the front line and secondary
and critical care in field hospitals. Aeromed evacuation of casualties is supported
by defence nurses who deliver intensive care nursing during patient transfers
both in theatre and on return to the UK working within the Critical Care Air Support
When not deployed on operations, defence nurses work within Ministry
of Defence Hospital Units within NHS Trusts across the UK to maintain their clinical
skills and care for the general public. In particular, Defence Nurses working
at the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine in Birmingham and at the Defence Medical
Rehabilitation Centre at Headley Court contribute directly to the health care
provision of military personnel.
Nursing staff for the three services
(with approximate personnel figures) are found from the following organisations:
Queen Alexandra's Royal Naval Nursing Service (QARNNS) - 300
Royal Army Nursing Corps (QARANC) - 800
Princess Mary's Royal Air Force Nursing
Service (PMRAFNS) - 430
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), Defence Services Medical Rehabilitation Centre
(Headley Court) and the Duchess of Kent’s Psychiatric Unit (Catterick). There
are also about 245 DMS medical and dental primary care facilities mostly located
in the UK. Outside of the UK primary healthcare, and some secondary healthcare,
is provided on board Royal Navy ships and in overseas bases and theatres of military
The Military Ward at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
started taking patients in 2010 and service personnel are cared for in single
rooms or four-bedded bays that have additional features for the exclusive use
of military patients. The ward has more staff than a normal NHS ward, a quiet
room for relatives as well as a communal space for military patients to gather.
A dedicated physiotherapy area has also been provided close to the ward for service
On operations overseas locations Field Hospitals provide 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. These Field Hospital may be staffed by medical personnel from all three
Service personnel serving in Germany who require hospital care are
treated in one of the five German Provider Hospitals. As the withdrawal from Germany
gathers pace these services will be reduced.
Royal Centre for Defence
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.
Midlands Medical Accommodation Project
From 2010 Whittington Barracks in Lichfield became the home of military medicine.
The Midlands Medical Accommodation project (MMA) will ensure that the area becomes
the central focus for military medical expertise and assets. About 2,000 military
and civilian staff are believed to be working at the barracks following completion
of the MMA project in 2015.
The first phase - MMA Increment 1 - delivered
a modern headquarters office building for the DMS at Whittington Barracks that
incorporates both the Surgeon General’s strategic Headquarters and those of the
Joint Medical Command, both of which are fully operational.
phase – MMA Increment 2 – saw the DMS elements relocated from Keogh Barracks near
Aldershot to a new modern training centre at Whittington Barracks. The new complex
includes training facilities, a learning centre; lecture theatre, messes for Officers,
Warrant Officers and Senior Non Commissioned Officers, living accommodation for
permanent staff and a new Junior Ranks’ dining and leisure facility.
About £200 million was invested in MMA1 and 2.