Defence Medical Services
Defence Medical Services is part of the Ministry of Defence’s Strategic Command. Fellow organisations include (but are not limited to) Permanent Joint Headquarters, Defence Intelligence, Joint Force Development (including the Defence Academy) and Defence Digital (which co-ordinates defensive cyber operations for the UK and supports overall cohesion of all information technology across the MOD.
At Defence Medical Services’, our primary role is to promote, protect and restore the health of the UK armed forces to ensure that they are ready and medically fit to go where they are required in the UK and throughout the world. DMS is made up of the Navy Medical Service, Army Medical Service, the Royal Air Force Medical Service and HQ Defence Medical Services (formerly known as Joint Medical Group). We operate with a budget of £500million and are staffed by around 12,100 service personnel (8,100 regular and 4000 reserve) and 2,500 civilian personnel and together, we provide healthcare to 135,360 UK Armed Forces personnel.
DMS operations are dispersed throughout the UK and overseas and include Regional Rehabilitation Units across the UK and Germany; Ministry of Defence Medical Services Group Units, which are embedded within NHS Trusts; The Royal Centre for Defence Medicine, based in Birmingham; and The Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre, based at Stanford Hall near Loughborough. Mental health services are delivered through a network of Departments of Community Mental Health, Mental Health Teams, and some additional locations have a dedicated permanent Community Mental Health Nurse. There is also deployable healthcare capability for military and humanitarian operations.
In HQ Defence Medical Services, service personnel and civilians work side by side as medical, dental and allied healthcare professionals and with other personnel with the relevant business and technical skills. The range of services they provide includes primary healthcare, dental care, rehabilitation, occupational medicine, community mental healthcare and specialist medical care.
The Director General (DG) DMS is defence authority for end to end Defence healthcare and medical operational capability. The DG DMS is accountable to the Defence Board, reporting routinely through the Defence Audit Committee and Defence People and Training Board.
The DG DMS tasks are to:
- Generate, deliver and assure medical operational capability for operations and fixed tasks
- Provide and commission a safe, effective and efficient healthcare service for all armed forces personnel
- Provide policy and advice on health, healthcare and medical operational policy
The Royal Naval Medical Service
The Royal Navy Medical Service (RNMS) provides comprehensive healthcare to ships, submarines and Royal Marine personnel at sea and on land. It provides primary care, deployed surgical support and, through the Primary Casualty Receiving Facility on board RFA Argus, it provides deployable hospital care. It provides specialist advice in fields of radiation protection, diving medicine and environmental medicine through the Institute of Naval Medicine. It also includes the Queen Alexandra’s Royal Naval Nursing Service.
The RNMS is headed by the Medical Director General (Naval), a member of the Second Sea Lord’s Board of Management and the medical adviser to the Admiralty Board.
The Army Medical Service
The Army Medical Service (AMS) provides Army medical and veterinary policy, operational capability, healthcare advice and assurance, to enhance and sustain the operational effectiveness of the Army. Army operational healthcare is provided through regular and reserve army medical regiments that provide primary and pre-hospital emergency care and regular and reserve field hospitals. The AMS is made up of the following:
- Royal Army Medical Corps
- Royal Army Veterinary Corps
- Royal Army Dental Corps
- Queen Alexandra’s Army Nursing Corps
The Royal Air Force Medical Service
The Royal Air Force Medical Service (RAFMS) provides direct medical support to the deployed force and delivers medical expertise including aviation medicine, training and support to RAF personnel and the wider armed forces.
The RAF Centre of Aviation Medicine conducts a wide range of activities delivering aircrew and aircraft integration, aviation medical training and specialist support through research and medical boards.
Tactical Medical Wing (TMW) provides operational outputs including aeromedical evacuation, deployed primary care, pre-hospital and hospital capabilities. TMW are supported by two medical Reserve squadrons: No 612 and No 4626.