This was to have been a posted about the newly opened Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, but first I have to acknowledge the death of soldier who was seriously injured in an incident in Afghanistan on 12 June.
He was a Royal Marine from 40 Commando and died from his wounds in the new hospital.
His death pushes the toll to 300 but please, let us not forget the injured. All of them. May his family have the support of loving friends to help them through their grief. They'll need it.
The new Queen Elizabeth Hospital is pictured above. It's been public knowledge for years that, although first class, Selly Oak could not cope with the numbers of military casualties and the Queen Elizabeth has made special provision for them. The hospital has the largest single-floor critical care unit in the world, with 100 beds. There is a 30-bed military section located in the trauma and orthopaedics ward and the ward has areas for the use of service personnel only. It has more staff (both military and civilian) than a normal NHS ward, a quiet room for relatives and a communal space for patients to gather. A dedicated physiotherapy suite is provided close to the ward for military patient.
The hospital is the new home of the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine which was located a Selly Oak. Having single rooms and four-bed rooms in the trauma ward means military and civilian patients will usually be kept apart, although military patients have said they are happy to be cared for alongside civilian patients and they have said in the past that they valued the support of civilian patients.
Unfortunately the most high-tech facility, staffed with the best the country can provide can't perform miracles, as the family of this Royal Marine now know too well.
Richard, in his own inimitable style, suggests that the MSM will use the figure of 300 as a media event. Possibly they will and as he says, much of the opinion will be the result of poor research.