New consultation gives the public an opportunity to have their say on proposals for the National Rehabilitation Centre

New consultation gives the public an opportunity to have their say on proposals for the National Rehabilitation Centre

A new public consultation running between 27 July and 18 September will give people the opportunity to express their opinions on the National Rehabilitation Centre (NRC).

The consultation – which is part of the formal NHS decision-making process – is asking people for feedback, particularly in regard to their views on the proposed reorganisation of patient care and rehabilitation services within the NHS East Midlands region.  

If approved and built, the NRC would be created on the Stanford Hall Rehabilitation Estate (SHRE) near Loughborough where a specialist Defence rehabilitation centre (the ‘Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre’) has already been built and started treating patients in late 2018, operated by the MoD.

The NRC would provide patient care focused primarily on treating patients within the NHS East Midlands region but with the potential to treat patients referred from elsewhere in the country.  Importantly, it would also combine, under one roof, specialist facilities for research and development (R&D) and innovation in rehabilitation treatment as well as facilities for teaching, education and to lead national improvements in rehabilitation.

The results from the public consultation will feed into an overall business case for the centre which is expected to be finalised later this year.  If approved by NHS commissioners, the target is for the centre to be operating and treating patients in 2024.

Miriam Duffy, NRC Programme Director, says

“The opportunity to establish the National Rehabilitation Centre is the most exciting initiative I have seen in more than 25 years of working in clinical rehabilitation.  Not only can it help us to improve the patient care and services we are providing here in the East Midlands but it can be a genuinely national hub for developing expertise, innovating in treatments and technology, and training the next generation of doctors and therapists.  

“It is a phenomenal undertaking and one which, if realised, would have far reaching and long-term benefits.”

The proposed site for the National Rehabilitation Centre is 400m from the Defence facility meaning that both centres will be able to share expertise and facilities to mutual advantage.

The DNRC programme has always had at its core the ambition to improve treatment for those serving in the Armed Forces and those in the NHS.  It was the conviction of the 6th Duke of Westminster – who established the DNRC Programme and whose family have donated more than £100M to making it happen – that significant advances in clinical rehabilitation and improving the lives of those who suffer serious injury or illness could be achieved if a Defence and an NHS facility could be built side by side.  The result, it is hoped, would be both centres achieving far more by working together than would ever be achievable operating on their own.

Luke Wigman, a former RAF paratrooper who was seriously injured serving in Afghanistan and who now works with the East Midlands Ambulance Service as well as being an ambassador for the DNRC programme, says:

“In many ways, I see myself as one of the lucky ones – when I was injured in Afghanistan, I had access to the best expertise in Defence medicine and to outstanding rehabilitation.  I had a route to recover and fantastic treatment and support.  But I know from my work with the East Midlands Ambulance Service that it’s simply not the same for people in the NHS which is why the plans for the National Rehabilitation Centre are so important.  There is so much to learn and to improve by people in the NHS working more closely with their counterparts in Defence medicine and vice versa.

“The National Rehabilitation Centre will make a massive difference.”

The public consultation is being run by the regional NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and anyone wanting to take part can do so – more details are available on the consultation website at


Media contact:
Emily Barnes, Ben Copithorne or Richard Pia at Camargue on 020 7636 7366 / 

About the National Rehabilitation Centre and the DNRC programme:

The idea for a civilian (National Rehabilitation Centre) facility was fundamental to the concept of the DNRC programme from the outset.

Sharing expertise and facilities to mutual benefit between Defence medicine and the NHS is acknowledged to be a way to improve the quality of outcomes for people who have experienced serious injury and would benefit from sophisticated clinical rehabilitation.

Getting people back to a meaningful life and capability following serious injury is a major policy area in Government.  It is acknowledged that return to work rates for people experiencing major trauma and serious injury in England lag behind rates achieved in other European countries as well as rates achieved in the Armed Forces.

There is planning permission for the National Rehabilitation Centre on a site 400m to the west of the Defence facility on the Stanford Hall Rehabilitation Estate. 

The National Rehabilitation Centre programme is being led by Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, the formal NHS sponsor.  This formal public consultation is part of an overall programme of engagement relating to how rehabilitation services might be reconfigured in order to potentially benefit from the opportunity presented by the National Rehabilitation Centre facility.  This important work is explained further in the ‘Transforming Rehabilitation Services’ paper published here.

This facility would be something entirely new – a place where patients, innovation, expertise and the physical space combine to push boundaries beyond that achieved in the field of clinical rehabilitation to date.  It should be viewed as a start-up and a flagship project in technology terms in the NHS transformation programme now underway.  The intention is that it will pave the way for similar clinical centres across NHS England.  

Under one roof it will: treat patients; train and educate significant numbers of staff in this field; and integrate industry, research and innovation in rehab to discover new practical solutions for patients.  It is also clear that there will be international dimensions to the work of the NRC.

In the October 2018 Budget, Government earmarked £70M to cover the construction cost of the patient care element – the other 2 elements of education and training and research and development will be sourced elsewhere.  
Co-located and working together, the Defence facility and the NHS (National) facility would share expertise, drive up standards, progress valuable research and potentially enable the field of rehabilitation medicine to progress to a whole new level.  

Key to the DNRC Programme ambition is that the whole would achieve far more than the sum of the parts.

Read the introduction to the National Rehabilitation Centre leaflet and find out more at 

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Contacts for further information:

Ben Copithorne or Emily Barnes at Camargue on 020 7636 7366 or