Veteran and doctor talking

UK’s first ever veterans’ orthopaedic centre opens in Shropshire

The UK’s first dedicated orthopaedic centre for veterans has officially opened its doors, in a move that has been described as a “momentous leap forward” for veterans’ healthcare.

Named the Headley Court Veterans’ Orthopaedic Centre after the charity that helped to fund it, the new service has been built onsite at The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital (RJAH) and ushers in a new era of care for veterans.

As well as nine examination and clinical rooms, the £6m newbuild includes a treatment room for outpatient procedures, an assessment area, a splinting and therapy room, and clinical space specifically ringfenced for virtual appointments.

The building also features a dedicated Veterans’ Hub where teams comprised of officials from Shropshire Council and various military charities will help veteran patients with everything from problems with homelessness and debt, all the way to PTSD and welfare concerns.

The second floor of the two-storey building will house dedicated research offices and teaching and training spaces for clinical activity, rounding out a modern, state-of-the-art site for veterans.

Harry Turner, RJAH’s Chair, said: “What a proud moment for us to celebrate the country’s first dedicated orthopaedic centre for veterans being open for business. This building is going to make a huge difference to our veteran and serving personnel patients, who deserve the very best standards of care.

“Thank you to the Headley Court Charity for their immense support, as well as understanding what we are setting out to achieve.”

The news follows the recent launch of an online forum supporting women veterans at Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, further demonstrating the NHS’s commitment to including the needs of veterans in its advancement plans.

Also commenting on the launch was RJAH’s Chief Executive, Stacey Keegan, who said: “This milestone has been a long time coming and I am an extremely proud Chief Executive knowing that we have opened the UK’s first dedicated NHS veterans’ orthopaedic centre, expanding on the already excellent Veterans’ Orthopaedic Service.

“I echo Harry’s gratitude to the Headley Court Charity, but I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the individuals, organisations and members of the community who backed this vision by donating and raising funds when we initially launched the appeal.”

As well as this soft launch, there are also plans for an official opening ceremony that will take place sometime in the spring of next year.

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NHE May/June 2024

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