Royal Centre for Defence Medicine

The RCDM was formally opened at Selly Oak Hospital on 2 April 2001 by HRH the Princess Royal and given approval by The Queen that the title “Royal” may be applied to the centre from 1 April 2002.

RCDM’s primary function is to provide medical support to military operational deployments, while it also provides secondary and specialist care for members of the armed forces. It is a dedicated training centre for defence medical personnel and a focus for medical research.

The RCDM is a tri-service establishment, meaning there are personnel from the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force. The military staff wear their own distinctive uniforms, although some wear a generic green uniform, with rank insignia, depending on the area in which they work.

The RCDM is based at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, with defence personnel fully integrated with NHS staff to treat both military and civilian patients.

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

As part of the development of RCDM as a centre of excellence for defence medical research, the Royal Defence Medical College became part of the University of Birmingham’s Medical School. In this role RCDM has developed innovative training and education programmes and research of relevance to civilian and military medicine.

The project has also involved other 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.