Page last updated at 12:05 GMT, Wednesday, 16 July 2008 13:05 UK

Barracks gets 200m medical base

Army medics (generic)
About 2,000 military and civilian personnel will be based there

A new 200m defences medical base to serve the whole of the UK will be up and running at a Staffordshire barracks by 2010, the government has said.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) confirmed Whittington Barracks in Lichfield would be the location for the base, which will train medics from across the UK.

It will eventually see 2,000 military and civilian personnel at the base.

The funds will be spent on new accommodation, offices, and training facilities at the site.

Ministers said one of the reasons they had chosen Whittington was because it was in easy travelling distance to Birmingham's Selly Oak Hospital, where many injured troops are taken.

'Long, hard struggle'

Junior defence minister Derek Twigg said the Defence Medical Services Training Centre will be moved from Aldershot, in Hampshire, to Lichfield to create a "critical mass" of expertise in the Midlands.

In a written Commons statement Mr Twigg said the Whittington site offered "excellent potential".

Lichfield MP Michael Fabricant said the news was the culmination of "a long, hard struggle" to secure the future of the barracks.

He said: "There are still a number of hurdles to be overcome as the project will take up to six years to complete in an unhealthy economic climate.

"This may impede the completion of the building programme. I will continue to monitor the process closely."

Stafford MP David Kidney said the move would bring a "significant boost" to the local economy.

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