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Military medical staff have moved into their new home after the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) delivered a £138 million project that creates state-of-the-art training facilities in the heart of England.
Working with industry partners Carillion and Lend Lease, delivering as Debut Services,DIO delivered modern facilities and living accommodation for Defence Medical Services (DMS) at the former Whittington Barracks, near Lichfield – on time and on budget.
The Midlands Medical Accommodation Project saw DIO and its industry partners work closely with Surgeon General’s office and Joint Medical Command to transform the site into DMS (Whittington) – confirming the West Midlands as the centre of excellence for military medicine.
The new complex provides a range of training facilities including a learning centre, library and lecture theatre, 736 new bed spaces provided within the living accommodation for permanent staff and trainees, and a junior ranks dining and welfare facility.
More than 1,100 service personnel are based at the new site, delivering high quality medical support to the Armed Forces. The facility establishes the West Midlands as the central focus for DMS.
It brings together a full range of DMS services and training with care for service operational casualties in nearby Birmingham at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, and University Hospitals Birmingham Foundation Trust.
Air Vice-Marshal Elaine West, Director Programme and Project Delivery at DIO, said: “DIO’s priority is to support our Armed Forces by providing the facilities and services they need to live, work and train. I am delighted that DIO has delivered top-quality facilities at Whittington which will serve the needs of Defence Medical Services for many years to come.
“The project is an excellent example of how DIO works in partnership with industry as it seeks to get full value from our investment, whilst supporting military capability to best effect.”
In designing and building the complex, key consideration was given to the heritage of the Victorian buildings on site, as well as the semi-rural settings which include the flora and fauna within the MOD establishment. Disruption to surrounding areas was kept to a minimum, as new roads were constructed around the outskirts of the site.
Defence Medical Services (Whittington), was formally dedicated by HRH The Duchess of Cornwall in a ceremony attended by personnel, families and representatives from the local community.
Surgeon General, Air Marshal Paul Evans, said: “The Defence College is central to the future of the Defence Medical Services. Completion of this building project has transformed this site into a world-class centre of excellence for Defence medical training with state-of-the-art facilities.”
The decision to create a unified headquarters for DMS in the Midlands was made in July 2006, with building work commencing early in 2008.
The project’s final phase involved relocating Defence College of Healthcare Education and Training (DCHET) from Keogh Barracks, in Aldershot, in March.
Carillion worked alongside Debut, who provided accommodation for 859 personnel under Project SLAM (Single Living Accommodation Modernisation).
Richard Lumby, Carillion’s Managing Director responsible for Defence works said: “Carillion is delighted to have been part of this project and is extremely proud of the new, state-of-the-art facilities which are testament to the collaborative working between all the parties involved. We hope they meet the needs of the Defence Medical Services for many years to come
Graham Jeffery, Defence Director for Lend Lease and Debut added: “Lend Lease are pleased to have been a key member of the team that successfully delivered this cross-prime development on behalf of the Defence Infrastructure Organisation, calling upon our vast amount of experience gained over the past 10 years working on Project SLAM. The successful collaboration between all of the parties involved has ensured that these new facilities will benefit so many of our British servicemen and women for many years to come.”