Handover of the gift of the Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre by the Duke of Westminster

Date posted: June 21, 2018
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Sir John Peace, Chairman of the Midlands Engine, has welcomed today’s (21 June 2018) ceremony in which The Duke of Westminster handed over the gift to the Nation of the Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre (DNRC) at Stanford Hall near Loughborough.

The DNRC was received by the Prime Minister at a special event held in the presence of His Royal Highness, The Duke of Cambridge.

The DNRC is an investment in clinical rehabilitation for the Armed Forces with the potential for a complementary civilian (i.e. ‘National’ facility) on the same site.  It is a £300m programme to provide a bespoke and purpose-built successor to the existing Defence rehabilitation establishment at Headley Court in Surrey treating injured soldiers, sailors and airmen.

The DNRC was the initiative of The 6th Duke of Westminster, Gerald Grosvenor, who led the charity fundraising drive with a personal founding gift of £70m.

The Duke of Westminster, on behalf of his father who died in 2016, formally handed over the gift of the DNRC to The Prime Minister who accepted it on behalf of the Nation.

The Duke of Westminster said,

My father served in the Reserve Army for 40 years and knew first-hand the high price that soldiers, sailors and airmen can pay – he wanted to do something to help.  Today, I am immensely proud to be handing over this hugely impressive new Defence facility made possible by his initiative and the tremendous support of others.  I hope that the DNRC’s full potential can be realised and, if that happens, it will be a remarkable legacy.”

The idea at the heart of the DNRC is that, by co-locating a Defence and a National (i.e. civilian) facility on the same site, sharing expertise and facilities, it will be possible to raise standards of clinical care.  This opportunity to bring together Defence medicine and it’s civilian/NHS counterpart is unique and potentially game-changing in the field of clinical rehabilitation and is a key priority for the Midlands Engine.

With the Defence facility becoming fully functional later this year under the Ministry of Defence (MoD), the proposals for the National facility are currently under consideration.

A formal ‘opening’ of the Defence facility is anticipated to take place during 2019, coordinated by the MoD.

During the handover ceremony, His Royal Highness, the Duke of Cambridge, Patron of the DNRC appeal gave a speech in which he said,

I have been the Patron of the DNRC for 4 years and I have enjoyed every single moment of it.  I have seen the growth of an idea transfer into what we see today – and it is rare and immensely satisfying thing to have witnessed.”

Prince William then read the winning entry of the DNRC’s ‘A Poem to Remember’ national poetry competition and unveiled a statue of Major General Sir Robert Jones, acknowledged as the founder of modern orthopaedic surgery and rehabilitation.  He went on to meet some of those involved in building the DNRC during a short reception.

Construction of the Defence facility started in 2015 and it will be treating patients by the end of this year.

In accepting the DNRC on behalf of the Nation, the Prime Minister said,

I am delighted that the Stanford Hall estate will provide a 21st century vision of Headley Court, and the next generation of rehabilitative care.

The vision that gave rise to the Stanford Hall Estate – was not just to do something for our servicemen and women. It was also to ensure that civilians who have experienced major trauma can also benefit from the first rate facilities here.

For decades, the military has pioneered innovations in health care: from facial reconstruction in the Second World War, to trauma treatment in more recent conflicts.

So it is absolutely right that the NHS and the Armed Forces continue working together – and that the NHS can learn from the Stanford Hall Estate’s ground-breaking work in rehabilitation, and in training the next generation of NHS medics.

That’s why the local NHS and Midlands Engine are looking at further opportunities for partnership – and the NHS is considering whether facilities at the Stanford Hall Estate could be developed to support civilian NHS services and what additional opportunities there may be in training, research and education.”

Sir John Peace, Chairman of Midlands Engine said,

The Midlands Engine congratulates all those involved in making the DNRC a reality.  It will become one of the world’s best clinical rehabilitation centres for people with trauma injuries.  We are committed to working with partners to make this a centre of excellence for both defence and civilian medicine and care.  We must seize the opportunity it presents to accelerate adoption in civilian care of innovative medical technology from defence medicine.”

A full copy of the Prime Minister’s speech can be found here.

You can find out more about the DNRC here.

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