UK

First Look: Inside New £300m Defence Rehabilitation Centre

The facility at Stanford Hall is four times the size of its predecessor at Headley Court.

For the first time, cameras have been allowed into the new Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre (DMRC).

The £300 million facility at Stanford Hall, near Loughborough, took over from Headley Court last autumn and was formally gifted to the nation by the Duke of Cambridge last year.

The centre primarily offers support to serving forces personnel, while some veterans who are experiencing issues with their prosthetics are able to apply for access.

The policy has led to a military charity calling for veterans to be given more access to treatment at the DMRC, rather than only those with prosthetic problems.

Defence minister Tobias Ellwood told Forces News that the NHS is ready to "provide support" to veterans who are in need.

Staff Sergeant Steve Sampher said "everything is purpose-made for us patients".

Staff Sergeant Steve Sampher, who is still recovering from losing a leg in Afghanistan, said "everything is purpose-made for us patients".

"If we wanted to use a big gym like this [at Headley Court], we would have to go on a  ramp or jump on one of the buggies to go the main gym," he said.

New technology is a big focus at Stanford Hall - the biomechanical lab is more advanced than its predecessor at Headley Court.

The equipment uses the same principles as those used in Hollywood animation - meaning treatment teams can track the movement of patients and analyse their unique needs.

Dr Samuel Smith said the technology means medical teams can provide "bespoke care pathways or rehab programmes", tailored to the needs of individual patients.

Stanford Hall - DNRC.
Stanford Hall is four times the size of its predecessor, Headley Court.

A "Computer Assisted Rehabilitation Environment", one of only five in the world, is also used at the centre. 

The panoramic screen can be used to show patients on a treadmill how their body is moving - turning the world around them to see how their brain and body copes.

Lance Corporal Adam Nesbit, who is receiving treatment after suffering a head injury, said: "Because of how my head injury works, I struggle with change. 

"So when I see how much work and effort they [medical staff] put in, just for me on my own independently, it helps settle my brain down massively.

"I can then just understand it and believe in it more and just deal with it."

The Computer Assisted Rehabilitation Environment is one of only five in the world.
The Computer Assisted Rehabilitation Environment is one of only five in the world.

Although Stanford Hall's primary focus is physical rehabilitation, the importance of mental health is also recognised.

Occupational therapist Clare Pinchess said: "There's no health without mental health so we very much look at both."              

Other differences from Headley Court includes sleeping arrangements.

Patients at Stanford Hall have their own bedroom, while at Headley Court patients slept in a room of four people. 

The DMRC, which will be known as the Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre once fully open, provides the same services for around the same number of people who were treated at Headley Court.

Stanford Hall is four times the size of Headley Court and is currently only used to serve military personnel, although veterans can be referred by the NHS for assessment.

A second civilian centre is planned to open up on the site in the coming years.