Stanford Hall: £300m military rehab centre work starts
Construction of a £300m rehabilitation centre for injured military personnel has begun in the grounds of a stately home in the East Midlands.
The Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre (DNRC), at Stanford Hall on the Nottinghamshire-Leicestershire border, is due to open in 2018.
The facility will replace the outdated Headley Court, in Surrey, where patients are currently treated.
There are also plans for the centre to treat civilians.
The centre, which will be able to accommodate up to 300 injured servicemen and women, has been funded by donors led by the Duke of Westminster, who bought the stately home in 2011.
Gen Sir Timothy Granville-Chapman, DNRC's director, said Stanford Hall was chosen above many other locations and would serve for 70 or 80 years.
"The vast majority is new build, you don't put 21st Century clinical facilities in an old building," he said.
"Frankly the nation needs [the DNRC]."
Peter Homa, chief executive of Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, is leading a bid for the centre to also be used to treat civilians who have suffered serious injuries.
"The patients that this facility will care for are those involved in traumatic injuries, often road traffic and farm accidents," he said.
"Undoubtedly this will be one of the best centres in the world and patients across the East Midlands who require rehab and burns services, will benefit from expertise developed by the Ministry of Defence."
It has not yet been decided how many civilians the centre would be able to treat.
Ibrar Ali, a former Army officer who lost his right arm in a bomb blast, said: "This particular project will make the same difference that Headley Court made to me.
"I went through the whole process of rehabilitation and 18 months later I was back in Iraq - I actually learned to use a rifle again."
In February, the Ministry of Defence was criticised after patients at Headley Court were forced to wait for specialist treatment because of water contamination.