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History of the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine

Ward signage for the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine

The Royal Centre for Defence Medicine (RCDM) was formally opened in April 2001 by the Princess Royal and was given approval by the Queen for the centre to use the title "Royal" in April 2002.

It was fitting that the opening ceremony was performed by the Princess Royal, as it was her husband, Captain Timothy Laurence, who wrote the original Ministry of Defence report advocating the creation of the Centre for Defence Medicine.

The first RCDM staff to arrive at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust were seven nurses who joined the Emergency Department in September 2000. They have since been joined by doctors, nurses, therapists and support staff who work throughout the Trust and now total approximately 500 in number.

The personnel who work within the RCDM all have roles away from Birmingham, and many have been involved military operations abroad in accordance with the centres primary function.

The RCDM continues to grow to meet the requirements of the Ministry of Defence and the Trust and is an integral part of Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham.

As the RCDM developed as a centre of excellence for defence medical research, the Royal Defence Medical College relocated from Gosport to Birmingham and is now a part of the University of Birmingham's Medical School. This has allowed the RCDM to develop innovative training and education programmes and research of relevance to civilian and military medicine.

The project has involved agencies across Birmingham, including the University of Birmingham and Birmingham City University. It is at this latter institution where the Defence School of Health Care Studies is based and is responsible, in conjunction with the university, for the provision of training to all military nurses and allied health professionals.

Last reviewed: 15 February 2022