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Should the royal navy have a real hospital ship?

Contains threads on Royal Navy equipment of the past, present and future.
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shark bait
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Re: Should the royal navy have a real hospital ship?

Postby shark bait » 02 May 2019, 07:58

Pseudo wrote:dedicated hospital ships. I wonder if this becoming reality might be more likely now that she's Defence Secretary.

No more likely, she is not in charge of that money any more, plus is was probably only a political stunt to line her up for this job any way. Hospital ships are dumb anyway.
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Re: Should the royal navy have a real hospital ship?

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 02 May 2019, 09:03

shark bait wrote:Hospital ships are dumb anyway.
Dedicated ones, yes, as they need to be huge for the stability required
- for up and coming powers they can be a useful instrument in buying 'influence'

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Re: Should the royal navy have a real hospital ship?

Postby Tempest414 » 02 May 2019, 09:56

Poiuytrewq wrote:Hopefully the one thing that doesn't change is the willingness to go head to head with the treasury to ensure the funding levels remain high enough to prevent further non strategic cuts.


I think this is one reason Williamson has been push out and I feel any hope of a hard line is now gone I don't see her pushing that hard. I see the LPD's being put back on the block to make room for halfassed FLSS

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Re: Should the royal navy have a real hospital ship?

Postby abc123 » 02 May 2019, 13:24

IMHO, if we were living in a ideal world where RN has enough money for all it's basic needs ( including manning ), then I would say that having one or even two dedicated hospital ships wouldn't be a bad thing at all.

But, considering that funding ( and manning ) is so scarce that the RN is forced to do constand juggling with money and personell to cover even the most basic tasks ( carriers, escorts, amphibious ships etc. ), to spend these scarce resources on dedicated hospital ship is nonsense. The only way I could support it if these ships would be: a) multifunctional ( like say RFA Argus, for training of helicopter crews ) and b) at least 50% funded ( in buying and operational costs ) by other departments ( like Department for International Aid and Development ).

So, IMHO way better option would be the spread of medical facilities over various RN/RFA ships ( like carriers, LPHs, LPDs, LSDd, fleet tankers, FSSS ships etc. ).
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Re: Should the royal navy have a real hospital ship?

Postby ArmChairCivvy » 02 May 2019, 21:45

Tempest414 wrote: make room for halfassed FLSS
and the same number, of the same hulls, painted white?

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Re: Should the royal navy have a real hospital ship?

Postby seaspear » 09 May 2019, 14:06

Coming back to the question of should the Royal Navy have the ship ,I would say no because it would come out of the R.N budget .
If the hospital ships were owned or leased by the government with the understanding that it could be used for miltary actions in emergencies it could perform those aid roles that have been discussed ,the ship could be designed to be outfitted for R.N use when required ,

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Re: Should the royal navy have a real hospital ship?

Postby Jake1992 » 15 Sep 2019, 20:26

Not sure where to post this but this seems as good a place as any.

Iv been wondering with the recent showing by BTM of their new Ellida concept could this be aimed at the proposed HADR platforms for the DFID by HMG?

If equipped with a large medical facility ( modular or permanent ) these could be spot on for this sort of role.

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Re: Should the royal navy have a real hospital ship?

Postby SDL » 17 Sep 2019, 02:52

Not sure if i've posted here before.... but yeah, i think we should have a proper hospital ship of some form.

have it paid for by a mixture of a re-organised Foreign aid budget and an MOD budget. design it for use in events like Hurricane Dorian rather than sending a Bay or something

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Re: Should the royal navy have a real hospital ship?

Postby abc123 » 27 Sep 2019, 14:30

A cheap(er) way to get it?

https://navaltoday.com/2019/09/27/germa ... -hospital/

Simply, put it on Tde class and future SSS?
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Re: Should the royal navy have a real hospital ship?

Postby shark bait » 27 Sep 2019, 14:41

Put it on the Wave class replacement. The Norwegians have already done it on their mini-Tides.
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Re: Should the royal navy have a real hospital ship?

Postby SKB » 27 Sep 2019, 15:28

If there is to be a "real" hospital ship, then it shouldn't be a Royal Navy one. To be classed as a hospital ship, it cannot be armed. So perhaps a floating Red Cross/NHS hybrid ship that is unarmed.

In peace time, it could be stationed in rivers or harbours to help out local NHS hospitals when they need help.

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Re: Should the royal navy have a real hospital ship?

Postby Jake1992 » 27 Sep 2019, 15:39

SKB wrote:If there is to be a "real" hosptital ship, then it shouldn't be a Royal Navy one. To be classed as a hospital ship, it cannot be armed. So perhaps a floating Red Cross/NHS hybrid ship that is unarmed.

In peace time, it could be stationed in rivers or harbours to help out local NHS hospitals when they need help.


I don’t think it should be hospital ship it should be a HADR ship with very large medical facilities at least a 100 bed.

DFID have been hinting over the summer of 2 vessels for this role so why not add large medical set up to them.

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Re: Should the royal navy have a real hospital ship?

Postby RichardIC » 27 Sep 2019, 15:56

Jake1992 wrote:I don’t think it should be hospital ship it should be a HADR ship with very large medical facilities at least a 100 bed.

DFID have been hinting over the summer of 2 vessels for this role so why not add large medical set up to them.


Just one question. Where are you getting the clinical staff from????

Defense medical services are short of staff, and many doctors are being hit hard by new pension arrangements which face landing them with large bills.

The NHS is desperately short of clinical staff. There isn't a trust in the country that has anywhere near a full roster.

Answer this before you start thinking about ships.

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Re: Should the royal navy have a real hospital ship?

Postby Jake1992 » 27 Sep 2019, 16:06

RichardIC wrote:
Jake1992 wrote:I don’t think it should be hospital ship it should be a HADR ship with very large medical facilities at least a 100 bed.

DFID have been hinting over the summer of 2 vessels for this role so why not add large medical set up to them.


Just one question. Where are you getting the clinical staff from????

Defense medical services are short of staff, and many doctors are being hit hard by new pension arrangements which face landing them with large bills.

The NHS is desperately short of clinical staff. There isn't a trust in the country that has anywhere near a full roster.

Answer this before you start thinking about ships.


To start I’d have the funding of the build and running costs come from the DFID, now with that said could we also use that budget to give very tempting pay rates to attract the medical professionals needed as it’d be part of the running cost ?

If ever used by the RN then the medical staff and running cost would have to come from the MOD or civis willing to work in a war environment.

If 2 of these were built by DFID I’d look to retire the medical part of Argus with out replacement freeing up her medical staff to be spread around the fleet and only consolidated on these in times of sh**t hitting the fan big time.

I just think the UK as a whole would get better use out of HADR vessel with large medical facilities than hospital ships. They would also that a big burden off the RN / RFA

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Re: Should the royal navy have a real hospital ship?

Postby Poiuytrewq » 07 Oct 2019, 00:41

Looks like the two DFID HADR vessels could still be under consideration.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/20 ... ace-royal/

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Re: Should the royal navy have a real hospital ship?

Postby shark bait » 07 Oct 2019, 12:29

Sounds really stupid! A Royal Yacht, that's also a logistics ship...why?

I haven't seen a compelling argument for government operated aid ships. Smushing that bad idea together with another controversial idea makes it sound a solution desperately in search of a problem.
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Re: Should the royal navy have a real hospital ship?

Postby Jake1992 » 07 Oct 2019, 12:58

shark bait wrote:Sounds really stupid! A Royal Yacht, that's also a logistics ship...why?

I haven't seen a compelling argument for government operated aid ships. Smushing that bad idea together with another controversial idea makes it sound a solution desperately in search of a problem.


I can see a HDAR ship or 2 being a real boost for the UK, they would free up RN assets during disasters but also be a real good soft power influence for us. If done right they could replace the UKs need to have a medical ship replacement.

IMO a pair of modified BMT Ellida type vessels operated and funded by DFID with RN access as and when would be ideal.

I can understand being against it if they come from RN funding but if from DFID funding then what’s the problem ? It’d be a more solid and useful use of those funds especially in the public’s eyes.

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Re: Should the royal navy have a real hospital ship?

Postby shark bait » 07 Oct 2019, 13:41

That is the reasoning every time this pops up, and it has nothing to do with international development.

It's just a story designed to appeal to those who want more toys flying British flags like the old days.
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Re: Should the royal navy have a real hospital ship?

Postby Jake1992 » 07 Oct 2019, 14:10

shark bait wrote:That is the reasoning every time this pops up, and it has nothing to do with international development.

It's just a story designed to appeal to those who want more toys flying British flags like the old days.


The aid budget is not just for international development though, it’s also to provide aid in disaster stricken areas which right now falls of the armed forces to deliver, taking them away from their primary role.

If an HDAR ship had large medical facilities like those on RFA Argus ( this is what I’d have ) then day to day they would be able to act as a mobile hospital able to give care in the poorest areas like the US does. How would this not help in long term development of areas ?
If they had these facilities they’d also relieve the RN from replacing the medical setup Argus provides freeing up that money down the line.

When operating in a disaster relief role it would not only free up RN vessel but also unburden them from the operational costs of this when providing relief in the Caribbean as we’ve seen in the past.

With regard to the “not part of international development” quote I’m sure most wouldn’t consider funding Nigerian spice girls or Ethiopian shopping malls as helping develop these poorer nations. Aid ships that could provide medical care and disaster relief is a much bet use of funds in an over bloated budget.

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Re: Should the royal navy have a real hospital ship?

Postby tomuk » 07 Oct 2019, 19:52

So DFID buy two of these and there is then no need for Argus and a Bay.

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Re: Should the royal navy have a real hospital ship?

Postby Jake1992 » 07 Oct 2019, 20:00

tomuk wrote:So DFID buy two of these and there is then no need for Argus and a Bay.


No the DFID buys 2 of these then along with the RN purchase of 2 FLSS there is no need for Argus / Replacement but there is still a need for the bays as the logistics side of the amphibious force ( the second wave ) along with their current move towards Unmanned Mother ships.

Just because the bays will no longer be needed for HADR work doesn’t mean the RN doesn’t need them by a long shout.

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Re: Should the royal navy have a real hospital ship?

Postby tomuk » 07 Oct 2019, 22:02

Jake1992 wrote:
tomuk wrote:So DFID buy two of these and there is then no need for Argus and a Bay.


No the DFID buys 2 of these then along with the RN purchase of 2 FLSS there is no need for Argus / Replacement but there is still a need for the bays as the logistics side of the amphibious force ( the second wave ) along with their current move towards Unmanned Mother ships.

Just because the bays will no longer be needed for HADR work doesn’t mean the RN doesn’t need them by a long shout.


Try telling the Treasury that.

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Re: Should the royal navy have a real hospital ship?

Postby Jake1992 » 07 Oct 2019, 22:13

tomuk wrote:
Jake1992 wrote:
tomuk wrote:So DFID buy two of these and there is then no need for Argus and a Bay.


No the DFID buys 2 of these then along with the RN purchase of 2 FLSS there is no need for Argus / Replacement but there is still a need for the bays as the logistics side of the amphibious force ( the second wave ) along with their current move towards Unmanned Mother ships.

Just because the bays will no longer be needed for HADR work doesn’t mean the RN doesn’t need them by a long shout.


Try telling the Treasury that.


The treasury would have to cut MOD funding to get rid of the Bays, if funding is there it is down to the MOD and RN to decide what is kept not the treasury.

It’d also be very hard for the treasury to say we we demand the amphibious force is cut because DFID now has 2 HADR vessels.

If your fear is how does the RN justify the bays when they no longer do HADR ( when not doing amphibious ops ) the RN is already having them do more ie mcm Mother Ship in the gulf along with unmanned system Mother Ship trials. They could also end up forming part of the LSG, so you see they have plenty to do other than HADR

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Re: Should the royal navy have a real hospital ship?

Postby SW1 » 07 Oct 2019, 22:25

When the bay is in the Caribbean it conducts maritime security and enforcement, interacts and hosts regional forces and conduct various exercises AS WELL AS disaster relief first response. If dfid has a “hospital” ship there who does all the other stuff? The bay?

If such a vessel is a dfid vessel who crews it? and why would be available UK armed forces in a conflict if it was still doing DFID tasks crewed by DFID people and paid for by DFiD budgets. We would be better off offering training and cooperation in infastructure resilience and engineering with the funds and retain a military regional presence able to offer assistance.

It’s an important defence task offering fwd presence and engagement in the Atlantic and the bay a gd fit.

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Re: Should the royal navy have a real hospital ship?

Postby Jake1992 » 07 Oct 2019, 22:52

SW1 wrote:When the bay is in the Caribbean it conducts maritime security and enforcement, interacts and hosts regional forces and conduct various exercises AS WELL AS disaster relief first response. If dfid has a “hospital” ship there who does all the other stuff? The bay?

If such a vessel is a dfid vessel who crews it? and why would be available UK armed forces in a conflict if it was still doing DFID tasks crewed by DFID people and paid for by DFiD budgets. We would be better off offering training and cooperation in infastructure resilience and engineering with the funds and retain a military regional presence able to offer assistance.

It’s an important defence task offering fwd presence and engagement in the Atlantic and the bay a gd fit.


I accept the bays do more than just HADR in the Caribbean but long term I see these other role taken over by the likes of multi mission sloops.

The crewing of any DFID HADR Vessels would be dependent if the tasks they are asked to by HMG IMO. Like I said above these vessel wouldn’t just be tied to the Caribbean but be more like mobile soft power platforms for the UK in a similar way to how the US uses its hospital ships to project soft power.

In times of conflict like with any UK vessel the RN will use. If in these times the RN can pretty much conscript any UK flagged vessel I’m sure a government owned vessel would be first in line. Funding wise id see the MOD covering the operational cost in these circumstances just how when allowed DFID do with the bays.

One thing we need to think about is that the DFID budget is not only very bloated but also very wasteful, it in effect chucks moneys away just to meet the 0.7% target and this has become poisonous in the public’s eye no matter what soft power it offers. 2 HADR vessels that can offer medical care around the world would offer soft power but also be seen as an acceptable way to spend said money to the public.

If Vessels like Iv describes or dedicated hospital ships were to come out of the RN budget then I’d say no as there are higher priorities, but out of a budget that seems to look for any means to spend its cash then why not ?

Someone tell me why the DFID budget should not fund something like this ? Tell why it’s a waste ? Tell what down sides thered be ?


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