The UK’s first dedicated Veterans’ Orthopaedic Centre at Oswestry’s specialist orthopaedic hospital has officially been opened today by Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Edinburgh.

The Duchess was at The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital for an official visit, that saw her unveil a plaque marking the official opening of the pioneering Headley Court Veterans’ Orthopaedic Centre.

The innovative centre was built by local contractor Pave Aways onsite at the Oswestry-based hospital following a £6 million donation from the Headley Court Charity.

Lieutenant Colonel Carl Meyer, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, launched the Veterans’ Orthopaedic Service back in 2014.

He said: “The official opening of the Headley Court Veterans’ Orthopaedic Centre is a day I have long dreamt about, even before our fundraising appeal launched in October 2018.

“For a number of years, we have talked about veterans being seen in an environment that brings comfort to them and by clinical teams that have an understanding of military personnel and their unique needs. This is now reality, which marks the beginning of a new era of bespoke care for our veteran patients and members of the Armed Forces.

“Thank you to HRH The Duchess of Edinburgh for visiting the Veterans’ Centre and learning more about the work we do here.”

The £6 million two-storey building features nine standard examination and clinic rooms, an enhanced treatment room for minor outpatient procedures, an assessment room, a splinting and therapy room, as well as clinic space for virtual appointments.

In the main entrance of the building, there is a café and dedicated Veterans’ Hub where Shropshire Council and various military charities will provide support to veteran patients and their family and friends, with issues that range from homelessness, finance, debt management, welfare, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), benefits and more.

The upstairs of the centre includes dedicated research offices, clinical teaching and training space for staff, a multi-disciplinary team room, and an office for admin staff.

Harry Turner, Trust Chair, said: “It was an honour to welcome HRH The Duchess of Edinburgh to our hospital and have her officially unveil our Veterans’ Orthopaedic Centre.

“This building is going to make a huge difference to our veteran and serving personnel patients, who deserve the very best standards of care.

“Thank you to the Headley Court Charity for their immense support, as well as understanding what we are setting out to achieve.”

Headley Court was the leading medical rehabilitation base for members of the Armed Forces before the transfer of those services to a new facility at Stanford Hall. Following the move, the Headley Court Charity were looking for worthy causes in keeping with their ethos and aims to support in the form of charitable grants.

Following the multi-million-pound grant, it was decided the new facility will be known as the Headley Court Veterans’ Orthopaedic Centre.

RJAH also received support from many groups and individuals, including regimental associations, former patients, the Orthopaedic Institute and the League of Friends which launched the fundraising campaign.

Stacey Keegan, Chief Executive, said: “We were able to take HRH around the state-of-the-art building and show the impact these facilities are having on our patients.

“She also met with staff from across the Trust. It was a great day that everyone enjoyed, and we would like to thank The Duchess for taking the time to visit.”

Pictured: Air Vice Marshal Anthony J. Stables, Chair of the Headley Court Charity; Stacey Keegan, RJAH Chief Executive, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Edinburgh; and Harry Turner, RJAH Chair; unveiling the plaque to officially open the Headley Court Orthopaedic Centre.