The Defence facility is up and running

The new Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre, known as ‘DMRC Stanford Hall’, started treating patient in October 2018, with the transition of staff from the previous Defence rehab facility, Headley Court in Surrey, having occurred in the previous two months.  Headley Court has now closed.

The DNRC Programme has, from the outset, envisaged both a Defence element and a civilian (National) facility nearby on the same site, sharing expertise and some specialist facilities with the Defence establishment to mutual advantage and in line with clinical patient requirements. 

The ‘National’ opportunity is receiving detailed consideration in 2019.  The work is being undertaken on the basis of a National Rehabilitation Centre (NRC) Programme where the NHS sponsor is Nottingham University Hospital Trust (NUH).

How does the Defence facility operate?

DMRC Stanford Hall is run by the MoD.  It forms part of Defence Medical Services – on which see more at:  Its patients are serving members of the Armed Forces.

The DMRC is run by a Commanding Officer and its professional staff comprises both members of the Armed Forces (i.e. 'in uniform') alongside civilians employed by the MoD - this replicates the model that worked so well at Headley Court.  Many staff transferred from Headley Court but the relocation also created new employment opportunities which have been recruited for and filled locally.

What’s in the Defence facility?

The Defence facility is a 21st century successor to Headley Court.  It mirrors all of the things that Headley Court did outstandingly for 70 years.  But the new place is entirely bespoke with enhanced rehab capability in many areas.

It combines technology with proven therapy.  It has buildings and spaces specially designed to aid the healing process and deliver the specific functions of rehab medicine as known to exist in 2018.  It contains includes gyms, a range of swimming and hydrotherapy pools, a gait lab and all the elements essential for its clinical purpose.  That purpose includes rehabilitation of the most seriously injured members of the Armed Forces but also, importantly, returning those who have been injured in the course of training to work.

The design of the building and the architecture have been carefully thought through to match very precisely to the clinical needs of patients and best rehab practice.  The space includes carefully crafted courtyards which serve a clinical purpose as well as being pleasing in their own right, social spaces, places for relaxation and doing all of those things that serving members of the Armed Forces would associate with their ship, regiment or air station.  It has the feel of a military establishment but patients know immediately that it is a very special place.

For the new Defence establishment is not only the largest collection of Classical buildings to be built in the country, probably since the days of Lutyens, but is significant in its innovative approach in relation to treating and healing patients.  Unlike most medical buildings put up today, it recognises the significant role that architecture plays, alongside medicine and technology, in creating the right environment to help in the successful rehabilitation of patients. 

It puts the patient first, both in the choice of its site and landscape as well as the innovative approach and the attention to detail that has been put into the architecture of its buildings.