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Updated: the project, involving Oxford University Hospitals, Defence Medical Services (DMS), and the Radcliffe Department of Medicine was 'highly commended' at the Health Service Journal Awards 2021.

We have state of the art magnetic resonance facilities, including three whole body MRI scanner and a hyperpoleriser for metabolic studies. © Martin Phelps

The Defence COVID-19 Rehabilitation and Recovery Service (DCRS) had been shortlisted for the Military and Civilian Health Partnership Award, which celebrates excellence in healthcare and health improvement for the Armed Forces community and the importance of working with partners.

 The project has so far helped nearly 300 UK Armed Forces personnel with persistent COVID-19 symptoms recover. This is done through a comprehensive clinical, rehabilitation, and occupational medicine assessment involving all three partners.

 Earlier in the summer, the DCRS was also awarded the Sir Archibald McIndoe Trophy by the Royal Air Force in recognition of work undertaken to further rehabilitation of those who have had severe or protracted COVID-19.

 Personnel with COVID-19 are referred by their military units for assessment at the Defence Military Rehabilitation Centre in Loughborough and, depending on symptoms, are sent to Oxford for additional cardiorespiratory investigations.

 This includes high-resolution CT chest scans, pulmonary function testing, and cardiovascular MRI.

 Investigations are performed in West Wing Radiology (John Radcliffe Hospital), Oxford Centre for Respiratory Medicine (Churchill Hospital), and the University of Oxford’s Centre for Clinical Magnetic Resonance Research (OCMR, John Radcliffe) respectively.

 Co-ordinated by a team of RAF Nurses and Doctors based at RCDM (Royal Centre for Defence Medicine) Oxford, a military unit at the John Radcliffe, tests are carried out and reported rapidly by a mixture of Trust and University radiographers, physiologists, and consultants.

 This pathway ensures that, within a week, a military patient with persistent symptoms can have thorough investigation and multidisciplinary input, which leads to a quick decision about their ability to return to work and rehabilitation treatment.

 The full list of nominees for the HSJ Awards 2021 can be found on the HSJ website. Winners were announced during an awards ceremony in London on Thursday 18 November 2021.

Read more about the project on the Oxford University Hospitals website