The official opening of the Larkhill Medical and Dental Centre in Wiltshire took place recently, signifying the end of the Army Basing Programme (ABP).
The £13m facility is the first in Wiltshire to offer a shared MOD and NHS Primary Healthcare provision.
The centre comprises two GP practices (MOD and NHS) with consulting and treatment rooms.
Each practice also features a dispensary. Housed within the building is a Defence Primary Health Care (DPHC) Dental Centre consisting of 12 dental chairs with supporting equipment.
Minister for defence personnel, veterans and service families Dr Andrew Murrison said: “I was delighted to open the Larkhill Medical and Dental Centre. It is truly state-of-the-art. Delivered under the successful Army Basing Programme, it rightly provides the very best primary care facilities and is a model for Defence-NHS cooperation.
“It has been incredibly useful to see first-hand how this investment has not only benefited our service personnel but also the local community.”
The Army Basing Programme has delivered the government’s 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) commitment to bring all UK military units back from Germany by 2020, and to move and re-role military units to implement the Army 2020 Plan, generating savings building to £240m per year.
Director basing and infrastructure, Major General Richard Clements, said:
“The £1.8bn investment in the estate under the Army Basing Programme has truly made a difference to our service personnel, their families and local communities across
“Infrastructure is actually about people, not buildings, and this facility perfectly embodies that.
“We are committed to creating sustainable environments in which all of our people can better live, work and train.”
Warren Webster, Defence Infrastructure Organisation, MPP programme director – Army, the project was the result of a lot of detailed planning.
“The Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO), alongside the Army, has worked closely with local authorities, the NHS and other government departments and local service providers to ensure enough housing, schooling, medical, welfare and dental provision has been made available to support the Army Basing Programme,” he said.
The centre was built on the land surrounding Stonehenge, a UNESCO World Heritage site, which resulted in a number of considerations being developed in consultation with the Planning Authority and English Heritage before work could begin.
These were incorporated into the design of the building and adjacent areas, to ensure that the sight line from Stonehenge was not affected.
Fiona Slevin-Brown, director of place – Wiltshire, Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Integrated Care Board, said: “Since its completion in 2020, this bespoke facility has been used during the COVID-19 pandemic as a mass vaccination centre by both DPHC and the NHS.
“Now, we look forward to providing comprehensive health care to those in the armed forces, their families and the wider local community.”
Commander defence primary healthcare, Brigadier Phil Carter, said: “The facility also acts as a training practice for the MOD, supporting the training and development of all medical specialties including combat medical technicians, nursing students, foundation doctors, general duties medical officers and general practice trainees.
“The commitment to provide top quality treatment and support for those under our care is epitomised in the Larkhill facility, cementing Wiltshire’s position as a hub for future military healthcare services.”
Aspire Defence chief executive, Allan Thomson, added: “I am thrilled to be in attendance to showcase the excellent standard of infrastructure which Aspire Defence continues to deliver on behalf of the Ministry of Defence and the army.”