Camilla to open £138m Staffordshire military medical training camp

A £138 million military medical training centre in Staffordshire will be formally opened by the Duchess of Cornwall at a special ceremony tomorrow.

Defence Medical Services (Whittington) will be dedicated by Her Royal Highness at the event which will be attended by Service Personnel, civilian staff, their families, and representatives from the community.

It will mark the culmination of six years construction work to bring all the Armed Forces medical units on one site.

Her Royal Highness will view military medical and community displays and undertake a tour of the Defence College of Health Education and Training, before attending an official reception hosted by the Surgeon General, Air Marshal Paul Evans. The Duchess of Cornwall will also unveil a plaque commemorating the dedication.

Surgeon Captain Stuart Millar, Commander of Defence Medical Services (Whittington), said: “I am extremely pleased to be able to welcome HRH The Duchess of Cornwall to the new home of our organisation, where we will provide the Defence medical community with the training required to ensure that the best possible medical care continues to be afforded to our customer; the man or woman in harm’s way, going into harm’s way or returned from harm’s way who has call on DMS delivered healthcare.”

The service tomorrow will include prayers, a blessing, and music by the Band of the Royal Corps of Signals.

The decision to create a unified headquarters for the Defence Medical Services in the Midlands was made in July 2006, with building work commencing early in 2008. The Midlands Medical Accommodation Project transformed the former Whittington Barracks into DMS(W) in a £138 million investment and confirmed the Midlands as the centre of excellence for military medicine.

The day will also celebrate the integration of Defence Medical Services (Whittington) into the community.

The first students arrived in March this year to start medical training in the newly formed Defence College of Healthcare Education and Training.

Approximately 1,400 military and civilian personnel will be permanently based at DMS (Whittington), together with a throughput of approximately 7,000 students per annum.

This final move confirms the West Midlands as the central focus for the Defence Medical Services. It brings together in close proximity HQ functions at Lichfield, training at RCDM Birmingham and Lichfield, and care of Service patients at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham.

Councillor David Smith, chairman-elect of Lichfield District Council, said: “The former Whittington Barracks were always considered part of the community, and so we are delighted to welcome a new generation to DMS (Whittington).”