"The relocation of the Headquarters of the Surgeon General (HQSG) and major components of the Joint Medical Command (JMC) is proceeding to plan in accordance with approvals given in July 2008" writes Minister for Defence Personnel, Andrew Robathan, in a letter to Michael Fabricant.
Michael wrote to the Minister after a previous minister in the Labour Government suggested to him that the incoming coalition government could pull the plug on the move to Whittington. "I just wanted to be sure that the new Conservative Government would continue with the move of Defence Medical Services to Whittington and this response gives me that assurance. I regularly lobbied for Whittington under the Labour Government so it is only right that I continue to do so under a Coalition one" Michael adds.
The Minister, Andrew Robathan, went on in his letter to say: "The new HQ, named Coltman House, has been built and is now fully occupied. Alongside the Headquarters of the Surgeon General, the elements of the Joint Medical Command now at Whittington comprise the Defence Medical Group and the Joint Medical Command HQ previously at Gosport, the Director of Healthcare previously based in Whitehall, the Defence Dental Service previously located at RAF Halton, and the Defence Postgraduate Medical Dean previously located in Birmingham.
"We also anticipate announcing ‘Increment 2’ this summer. This will include new training facilities, a new learning centre, a new lecture theatre, new messes for officers, warrant officers and NCOs – and a new junior ranks dining and leisure facility."
Michael Fabricant now says: "This will rejuvenate the 19th century barracks. And all these moves from other parts of the country will clearly make Whittington and Lichfield the national centre for military medical training and planning in the United Kingdom.
"I shall shortly be meeting the Commanding Officer for a tour of the facility and I shall be talking with officials from Lichfield District Council to see how the District can best welcome the medics and encourage them to make full use of local businesses and services. This, combined with our Armed Forced Memorial, is helping to put Lichfield on the military map of Britain and has to be excellent news for our local economy."