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Farewell to Medical College at Blockhouse T

HE its

Defence Medical College


closed the doors of


base in August 1996, the Royal Defence Medical College (RDMC) provided postgradu- ate training in military surgery, military medicine, army psychi- atry, preventative medicine, military entomology and gen- eral practice for all three

Blockhouse home for the last time. Established at the Gosport

Services. After a review in 1998, the

Ministry of Defence announced that a Centre

Birmingham NHS Trust and pro- vides a centre of excellence that

by the

Medicine would be created as part of a future strategy for the Defence Medical Services. This tri-Service centre is hosted University

for Defence Hospital

will be the main focus for all mili- tary medical expertise. The future for the Fort Blockhouse site remains positive despite the departure of the RDMC.

Submarine Escape Training Tank, 33 Field Hospital and the Joint Services Adventurous Sail Training Centre. In addition, the Centre for

on the

Twenty-two lodger units remain site

University of Portsmouth. The longer-term future of the Gosport site remains under review.

Defence Medicine will run a train- ing division to look after student nurses who remain at


• Away from the specific Blockhouse changes, all four MOD Medical Agencies have just been through a five-yearly review. This has resulted in a decision to

focus more specifically on the delivery of two key areas - medical care that can be deployed in oper- ational scenarios, and appropriate healthcare for Service men and

including the within the

NAVY NEWS, MAY 2002 15

As part of this review, it has

Agency will disappear in March 2003, and its training functions will be transferred to an expanded Defence Medical Education and Training Agency. Healthcare commissioning from


been decided to restructure the existing agencies to concentrate on these two primary aims. The Defence Secondary Care

• The three Services form Ceremonial Divisions to mark the closure of the tri-Service Royal Defence Medical College at Fort Blockhouse before moving to the Centre for Defence Medicine, Birmingham

this point will be handled by a new group

has already become a part of the Defence Logistics Organisation on April 1, 2002. It

General's staff. The Medical Supplies Agency

Defence Dental Agency in its pre- sent form, with a few minor changes.

is planned to keep the

Arrangements for healthcare in Germany and Northern Ireland are not expected to be changed, but the provision of all aspects of medical services in Gibraltar and Cyprus will become the responsi- bility of the local Commands. The MOD aims to establish a

chance for the MOD to take stock of progress for the medical services since the changes of 1998. The MOD says of the review: "It

stronger partnership between the defence medical and the National Health Service, and to draw on lessons learnt from within the NHS and parent Services to strengthen the existing medical role. This new assessment has given a

to achieving those aims and, sub- ject to the normal consultative process, to implementing the out- come of the review."

is no surprise that it has concluded that while much has been done over the last three years there are further steps to be taken - and changes to be made - that will help the process of restoring the Defence Medical Services capabili- ty and ensuring that key defence medical outputs are delivered. "The Government is committed

• Air Chief Marshal Sir Anthony Bagnall, Vice Chief of the Defence Staff, inspects Ceremonial Divisions at Fort Blockhouse


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