Established in 1995 following the closure of Royal Naval Hospital Stonehouse, Ministry of Defence Hospital Unit (MDHU) Derriford has had a longstanding relationship with Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust which continues to grow and reap benefits for both. A tri-service staff of 180 military doctors, nurses, medics and allied health professionals are fully integrated within the hospital workplace, working and training alongside their NHS counterparts, treating the local community, whilst proudly wearing their service uniforms and contributing to its high standard of patient care.
Away from the hospital, MDHU personnel continue to deploy to Afghanistan and other areas throughout the world in support of operations and exercises. These experiences expose our personnel to a raft of trauma, injuries and conditions they would not hope to encounter within a conventional UK Hospital and enables them to return home with elevated clinical skills, experience composure and pride to the NHS workplace, therefore enhancing their hospital teams.
In preparation for this deploying personnel have to complete compulsory pre-deployment training. Previous feedback from assessors included very positive comments on the high performance of the Derriford component, a testimony in part to the skills and knowledge they gain from Derriford. The synergy that the partnership offers, particularly in the area of trauma care, is one both the MoD and PHNT are committed to continue to develop in the planned Trust strategy. Both the MoD and NHS face extremely challenging times but we share the same focus on improving outcomes for our patients and this shared vision is key to our ability to assist each other in achieving our aims.
Who we are
The Ministry of Defence Hospital Unit (MDHU) Derriford is one of five MDHU’s located throughout the country and forms part of the Joint Forces Command whose Headquarters are situated in Northwood, London. Military personnel, who are drawn from all three services, are employed in all clinical areas including: A&E, Operating Theatres, Intensive Care Unit/High Dependency Unit, Various Wards, Infection Control, Radiology, Physiotherapy and Pharmacy with the aim of the MDHU being to prepare military medical personnel to support exercises and deployed operations. In addition the unit also oversees the treatment of military personnel within the trust.
The Unit Headquarters is situated in the Norwich Union Building some 400yds from the hospital which in itself brings its own challenges when relaying information to staff or when trying to unite the unit. To counter this we have introduced a number of mandatory Military Day’s throughout the year, where presentations and briefs from the wider ‘forces family’ combined with either a fitness test or team activities ie Olympiad, helps personnel to develop unit cohesion.
Defence Medical Welfare Service (DMWS) also have a presence within the hospital offering a neutral and confidential staff support service, providing information, advice and personal support on a variety of topics and issues. Welfare Officers provide an impartial, confidential arena where staff can informally offload any concerns/worries and be directed back to service support mechanisms as necessary.
Although civilian and military medical personnel have the same professional qualification, military staff are, in the main, employed where they can enhance the skills required when deployed on operations. Military training, such as weapon and sea survival training is undertaken at various military establishments throughout the UK and overseas. The services are a unique grouping of professionals, who also enjoy the opportunity to regularly partake in sporting and adventure training events, which helps to develop Unit cohesion and leadership skills and recognisably improves management skills further utilised in the work place. Such training opportunities are equally diverse and challenging and formally attract both civilian and military accreditation. Additionally, it is this mix of training and development, which fully prepares our medical Services for all eventualities and enables the provision of medical care in the most austere of environments.
Awards and Commendations
Various Awards and Commendations are awarded to individuals or divisional teams in recognition of their outstanding contribution either to the unit, their department or as demonstrated in the New Years Honours list where Surg Cdr Anthony Lambert RN was awarded an OBE in recognition of his notable work abroad and his local charity work.
- Download a presentation about MDHU at Derriford Hospital