Headley Court

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Coordinates: 51°17′31″N 0°16′41″W / 51.292°N 0.278°W / 51.292; -0.278

DMRC Headley Court
Headley crest.png
Headley Court crest
Active 1940s – present
Country England, United Kingdom
Branch Defence Medical Services
Type Medical, Training, Headquarters
Role Defence Services Medical Rehabilitation Centre
Part of Ministry of Defence
Near Headley, Leatherhead, Surrey

Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre Headley Court (abbreviated to DMRC Headley Court, and more commonly known as Headley Court), formerly RAF Headley Court, is an 85-acre (34 ha) United Kingdom Ministry of Defence facility in Headley, near Leatherhead, Surrey, England.

It is used as a rehabilitation centre for injured members of the British Armed Forces.

History and overview[edit]

Headley Court was an Elizabethan farm house bought by the Cunliffe family, from Tyrrell's Wood, Leatherhead. They later sold this farm house and built in 1899 the imposing mansion at the centre of Headley Court to the north, namely under Lord Cunliffe, who was Chairman of the Bank of England.[1] Its architect was Edward Warren. During World War II, it was used as the Headquarters for the Canadian Forces in Europe, and since the war, it has been used as a Royal Air Force and Joint Services medical rehabilitation centre.[2] During the war, nearby Headley Heath was used as a training ground for engineers building airstrips and trench systems then demolishing them again.

Purchased after that war with money from the Royal Air Force Pilots and Crews Fund, a public collection as a tribute to the deeds, including the Battle of Britain efforts of the RAF, Headley Court lost its social club focus to expand its medical and rehabilitation credentials and become the Defence Services Medical Rehabilitation Centre (DMRC), which aims to return all those service personnel injured or seriously ill to full fitness.

During the 2002 UK Firefighter strike, two Green Goddess fire engines were based at RAF Headley Court. If called upon, the crews would have had to wait for Surrey Police to escort them to a fire.

In November 2005, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall visited the centre. They met Major David Bradley of the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment who had been given a five per cent chance of survival, after coming under fire from a Rocket Propelled Grenade launcher (RPG) in Basra, southern Iraq in 2004.[3] Other notable patients in 2006/2007 include Sgt Mark Sutcliffe, The Royal Anglian Regiment, Sgt Stuart Pearson, 3 PARA and many others.

In July 2014, the Minister of Defence, Philip Hammond, announced that the services provided by Headley Court would be transferred to a new centre to be developed at Stanford Hall. The move is expected to be completed by 2018. The future of the buildings at Headley Court is in the hands of the Headley Court Trust.

Facilities[edit]

Headley Court

Rehabilitation staff average around 200 per year from all three services' medical and nursing branches, the longest established here being Princess Mary's Royal Air Force Nursing Service. These comprise specialist medical officers, nurses, remedial instructors, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, a cognitive therapist, social workers, engineers, and administration support staff. Not only does the centre deal with patients with new physical disabilities but it also deals with patients suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

The rehabilitation areas of the unit consist of hydrotherapy pools, gymnasiums, and workshops for prosthetics. The high, wooded countryside setting and grounds of the unit have been welcomed by staff and those recovering; Headley Heath and the North Downs Way share the escarpment and there is a high concentration of woodland wildlife.

The 28 bed[4] Peter Long Ward has single showers and nursing staff on call 24 hours a day, internet access and a kitchen area with washing and drying facilities for clothing. A further large ward opened in September 2010 of 30 beds, rest areas and equipment.

Headley Court was in need of further facilities, particularly a full size swimming pool, as patients had to share a leisure centre in Leatherhead.[5] The charity Help for Heroes was set up in late 2007, with a first objective of raising money to build these facilities.[6] A new gym, swimming pool and lower limbs treatment area opened within two years.

References[edit]

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