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RCDM - The Royal Centre for Defence Medicine - Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham

Information and history about the RCDM - The Royal Centre for Defence Medicine - Queen Elizabeth NHS Hospital Birmingham

The Royal Centre for Defence Medicine (RCDM) was opened on the 2 April 2001 by Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal. Army, Royal Air Force (RAF) and Navy nurses work within the unit and throughout the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHBFT),(formerly the Selly Oak National Health Service Trust Hospital in Birmingham until 2010), caring for civilian and military patients.

In June 2010 the RCDM relocated to the purpose built Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham (QEHB) from Ward S4 of the Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham.

For the Selly Oak Hospital and Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham: University Hospitals Birmingham website please visit

For the RCDM website please visit

For the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine fund within Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham Charity which aims to raise funds for a Forces and Families Centre at the new Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham please visit

History of The Royal Centre for Defence Medicine

On the 1 April 2002 The Centre for Defence Medicine was given approval by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and given Royal status and re-named to The Royal Centre for Defence Medicine.

Prior to this and in anticipation of the RCDM opening seven military nurses were sent to University Hospital Birmingham in September 2000 to work in the Accident and Emergency Department.

I have published a book which tells the story of The Grey Lady Ghost of the Cambridge Military Hospital which reveals her origins in the QAIMNS and where she meets a QA veteran of Afghanistan. She still walks her wards and tells her story by taking Scott Grey, a QARANC nurse, to the battlefields of World War One and beyond. This is the first in the series of Grey and Scarlet Novels by CG Buswell. Read the first chapter for free.

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After the closure of the main Ministry of Defence (MOD) military hospitals such as the QEMH, CMH and RN Haslar the RCDM was set up to provide medical and nursing care for injured and wounded military personnel on operational deployments and secondary and specialist care for members of the armed forces.

Military patients who are returned home to the UK from active operations are flown into Birmingham airport by RAF nursing and medical teams of the Aero Med Service.

The Royal Centre for Defence Medicine is also a training centre for nursing, medical and support staff of the tri-service which includes the QARANC (Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps), the PMRAFNS (Princess Mary's Royal Air Force Nursing Service) and the QARNNS (Queen Alexandra's Royal Naval Nursing Service)

Alexandra Wing

Attached to the RCDM is the Alexandra Wing which is a hostel accommodation facility for the next of kin and relatives of soldiers, sailors and airmen who are being cared for at the hospital.

Defence School of Health Care Studies

The Royal Defence Medical College moved from Gosport to the University of Central England in Birmingham Medical School where it combines civilian and military research, training and education. This includes the Defence School of Health Care Studies for the training and professional development of military nurses. It is now known as the Centre of Defence Medicine - Birmingham (CDM).

If you would like to contribute any info, photographs or share your memories of RCDM then please contact me.


BBC1 broadcast a documentary called Wounded on Wednesday 23 September 2009. Wounded followed the treatment of two soldiers injured in Afghanistan . This included their care at Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham and their rehab at the Defence Rehabilitation Centre at Headley Court. Their injuries were bilateral leg amputations and lost eyesight and the other soldier lost three limbs after moving a sandbag which had a booby trap. Members of the QARANC featured in Wounded.

Forces War Records

Forces War Records are a genealogy site where you can find military records of over 6 million British Armed Forces personnel cross matched with over 4000 Regiments, Bases and Ships. This link includes a free search and a special discount of 40% off membership offer for visitors who use the discount code AF40 if they decide to become a member.
Search Now. A unique feature is their WW1 Soldiers Medical Records section.

If you would like to contribute to this page, suggest changes or inclusions to this website or would like to send me a photograph then please e-mail me.

Official QARANC webpage.

QA Association website.

In The Company of Nurses Book.


The Grey Lady Ghost of the Cambridge Military Hospital Novel - a Book by CG Buswell

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