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Should the royal navy have a real hospital ship?

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

Postby Caribbean » 10 Oct 2019, 09:48

SW1 wrote:Hard and expensive to find all that outside of military capability.

In reality, only the logistics stuff is primarily (though not exclusively) the preserve of the military. Most of the other skills can be obtained though the civilian sector (often as unpaid volunteers - that's how many of the medical NGOs work), or by NGOs hiring ex-military personnel. Civilian organisations are quite capable of providing the other skills (surveyors, engineers, police etc) and assets, such as helicopters (during 2017's hurricane response in TCI/ BVI etc, Cayman Police sent a helicopter and it's support team and operated initially off an anchored Bay-class). Since then, they've bought a second helicopter (the UK Govt is contributing 10% of the purchase and running costs) that is more SAR focussed and also hired an ex-AAC pilot (this was primarily in response to a maritime disaster in 2016, but the UK Govt wants it to be available for hurricane response). Other islands sent police detachments to improve security, and contributed personnel as requested (such as Red Cross-trained disaster response management teams). A great deal of effort is going into building up the islands own resources, but I don't think the impact of a hurricane is fully appreciated.
SW1 wrote:That about sums up a first response,

Yes- the military are good for that, no doubt (and the often unmentioned factor is the fact that the force is operating under military discipline), however they lack depth - a fully-loaded Bay class is completely inadequate to addressing the needs of even a small island that has suffered a complete infrastructure collapse. In the latest incident, we had to divert an icebreaker to pick up supplies in Bermuda, and even then, ran out of stores within days. Thankfully the Dutch sent HNLMS Pelikaan (which is not a big ship), to assist, but even so, the stores available were inadequate. What is needed is additional depth of capability, to which a couple of large, civilian, combined HADR/ hospital ships (plus a couple of re-supply freighters) would add enormously. If that was coupled with the formation of a civilian (or RFA-style para-military) disaster response organisation, paid for out of the aid budget, then it would go some way towards providing an adequate response (the current set-up is, frankly, not adequate, despite the huge efforts of the individuals concerned, and, as 2018 showed, it can take weeks to ramp up an adequate response).
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Re: Should the royal navy have a real hospital ship?

Postby SW1 » 10 Oct 2019, 18:00

Caribbean wrote:
SW1 wrote:Hard and expensive to find all that outside of military capability.

In reality, only the logistics stuff is primarily (though not exclusively) the preserve of the military. Most of the other skills can be obtained though the civilian sector (often as unpaid volunteers - that's how many of the medical NGOs work), or by NGOs hiring ex-military personnel. Civilian organisations are quite capable of providing the other skills (surveyors, engineers, police etc) and assets, such as helicopters (during 2017's hurricane response in TCI/ BVI etc, Cayman Police sent a helicopter and it's support team and operated initially off an anchored Bay-class). Since then, they've bought a second helicopter (the UK Govt is contributing 10% of the purchase and running costs) that is more SAR focussed and also hired an ex-AAC pilot (this was primarily in response to a maritime disaster in 2016, but the UK Govt wants it to be available for hurricane response). Other islands sent police detachments to improve security, and contributed personnel as requested (such as Red Cross-trained disaster response management teams). A great deal of effort is going into building up the islands own resources, but I don't think the impact of a hurricane is fully appreciated.
SW1 wrote:That about sums up a first response,

Yes- the military are good for that, no doubt (and the often unmentioned factor is the fact that the force is operating under military discipline), however they lack depth - a fully-loaded Bay class is completely inadequate to addressing the needs of even a small island that has suffered a complete infrastructure collapse. In the latest incident, we had to divert an icebreaker to pick up supplies in Bermuda, and even then, ran out of stores within days. Thankfully the Dutch sent HNLMS Pelikaan (which is not a big ship), to assist, but even so, the stores available were inadequate. What is needed is additional depth of capability, to which a couple of large, civilian, combined HADR/ hospital ships (plus a couple of re-supply freighters) would add enormously. If that was coupled with the formation of a civilian (or RFA-style para-military) disaster response organisation, paid for out of the aid budget, then it would go some way towards providing an adequate response (the current set-up is, frankly, not adequate, despite the huge efforts of the individuals concerned, and, as 2018 showed, it can take weeks to ramp up an adequate response).


I’m not disagreeing with any of that, spending DFID money on national resilience and infrastructure robustness is where money should be being spent.

You can of course obtain such skills set but it isn’t cheap especially to have it held at readiness. It only makes sense from a first response point of view if your removing the military from the role altogether and if that’s the case fine. However with regard to the Caribbean there is other reasons why such forces are there so are you saving anything.

I agree the initial entry phase is what the military are good at. Open an airfield or port re-establishment of communication to enable bulk to arrive from civilian means. But natural disasters aren’t confined to the Caribbean, floods in Mozambique or earthquakes in Nepal, which don’t always lend themselves to ship delivered responses.

Ultimately if it’s longer term aid delivery and medical provision that these proposals are aimed at then contracting of shipping/aircraft and establishment of onshore medical facilities are probably more useful.

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

Postby Zero Gravitas » 03 Mar 2020, 08:50

Today’s Times:

”The aid budget could be used to fund a new multimillion-pound hospital ship in a boost to Britain’s humanitarian relief capabilities.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan, the new international aid secretary, is said to be examining proposals for her department to buy a ship similar to the Mercy-class vessels used by America.

The ships Mercy and Comfort cost $550 million each and together take about $120 million a year to run. They are operated by the US navy and provide medical care to American forces overseas, with a secondary mission to help with disaster and humanitarian relief.“

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

Postby Ron5 » 03 Mar 2020, 14:43

From the Financial Times:

The British government is exploring using its international aid budget to purchase a multimillion pound hospital ship that could be used for humanitarian relief and assisting military operations.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan, minister for international development, has ordered officials to examine ways of broadening the use of her department’s budget, which represents 0.7 per cent of national income, to better chime with the aims of Boris Johnson’s Conservative government.

One option officials are investigating is the purchase of a “hospital ship” to improve the UK’s humanitarian relief capabilities, while also having the potential to assist the Royal Navy in military operations, according to one senior insider.

Britain is one of only a few countries to meet the OECD target of spending 0.7 per cent of gross domestic product on aid, but Conservative MPs have called on the government to widen the use of the budget to cover other priorities, such as the BBC World Service and peacekeeping.

Mr Johnson backed these calls last year, stating “we could make sure that 0.7 per cent is spent more in line with Britain’s political commercial and diplomatic interests”.

The Department for International Development is considering the possibility of procuring a ship similar to the US’s Mercy-class of vessels, which were converted from oil tankers in the 1980s. Each ship has 1,000 patient beds with a basic crew of 70. They provide assistance to American military personnel and respond to natural disasters.

One of the Royal Navy’s current ships, the RFA Argus, is equipped with 100 beds and was used during the Falklands War, but does not meet the Geneva Convention’s definition of a hospital ship. It is due to be taken out of service in 2024 and there are no current plans to replace it.

One of Ms Trevelyan’s predecessors, Penny Mordaunt, investigated a similar plan. But Whitehall insiders said it was scuppered by officials who were concerned it would not fall within the OECD’s definition of overseas aid.

Last year, Ms Mordaunt wrote to then defence secretary Gavin Williamson to propose establishing a joint working group” which would examine “the option of a jointly managed UK Hospital Ship”.

Tom Tugendhat, chair of the House of Commons foreign affairs select committee, said the Royal Navy had “always been on the frontline of Britain’s defence of humanitarian values” and welcomed the idea. “A hospital ship would be a practical addition to the fleet and offer us the ability to help more people and promote our soft power and humanitarian reach,” he said.

A DFID spokesperson said: “We are committed to ensuring UK aid reaches the world’s poorest people, achieves value for money for the taxpayer and works in our national interest.”

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

Postby Ron5 » 03 Mar 2020, 14:43

"scuppered by officials"


Seems to be happening a lot in the UK these days.

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

Postby donald_of_tokyo » 03 Mar 2020, 15:02

With current BIG shortage of equipment budget, I propose Argus shall go without replacement. And, it shall be announced NOW.

This will let the Hospital ship go ahead in DfID budget = OUT OF RN budget.

Where RN shall do helicopter training is an issue. But nowadays, Tides are some times used, and if so Bays can be, also.

Looking at NAO report saying "there is no Argus replacement budgeted", I think this is a practical way to go.

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

Postby SKB » 03 Mar 2020, 15:06

No. The Royal Navy should not have a hospital ship because the Royal Navy is not the Red Cross or the NHS.

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

Postby donald_of_tokyo » 03 Mar 2020, 15:11

SKB wrote:No. The Royal Navy should not have a hospital ship because the Royal Navy is not the Red Cross or the NHS.
No. RN cannot have Argus replacement, and also will not have Hospital ship, either. The hospital ship can be operated like Points = out of RN/RFA man-power, as well.

I think this will be the only way that a part of tasks of RFA Argus (only partly), can continue into future. There is no Argus replacement (without threatening other equipments important for RN/RFA). No money is no money.

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

Postby Jake1992 » 03 Mar 2020, 15:14

Should it be more of should they UK have a hospital ship/ships that the RN can use when need be ?
ie payed for and ran from another budget and only ran from MOD budget when in use by the forces.

If this is to come from the DFID budget would it not be more useful for it / them to be more than just a bog standard hospital ship in the way the the US ones are, and more like a disaster relief vessel that has large hospital capabilities.

Say some that has -
Good helo facilities
Either a small well dock or LCVP and steel beach set up
Mid size vehicle deck for any equipment to help
Decent stores capacity
100+ bed full fat medical facility

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

Postby SW1 » 03 Mar 2020, 16:59

Do dfid personal crew them or if not who and what would there status be

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

Postby Ron5 » 03 Mar 2020, 17:02

SKB wrote:No. The Royal Navy should not have a hospital ship because the Royal Navy is not the Red Cross or the NHS.


And the army shouldn't have ambulances? or hospitals?

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

Postby Jake1992 » 03 Mar 2020, 17:19

SW1 wrote:Do dfid personal crew them or if not who and what would there status be


This is something that really does need to be worked out. You can’t have normal civi crews when under MOD use but at the same time it’s not really fair to lump the crew need and cost on the RN or RFA when being used in other areas.

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

Postby Jensy » 03 Mar 2020, 20:01

Jake1992 wrote:
SW1 wrote:Do dfid personal crew them or if not who and what would there status be


This is something that really does need to be worked out. You can’t have normal civi crews when under MOD use but at the same time it’s not really fair to lump the crew need and cost on the RN or RFA when being used in other areas.


The implication from The Times...

A new UK medical ship funded by the Department for International Development (Dfid) but operated by the Royal Navy would offer the dual benefit of bolstering the armed service’s stretched fleet and budget while projecting British influence overseas


...is that this would be a sneaky way of raiding the DfID piggy bank to benefit the Royal Navy. Whether it could be done is up for debate. There is a rather powerful 'aid lobby' who will be worried about their pet projects being deprived of funding and might fight against this.

RFA/RN manpower shortages are worrying but personally it's the medical staffing that concerns me more than the ship's company. The NHS is not exactly flush with additional staff who could be 'press-ganged' for a designated hospital ship. So either you're diverting medical staff from the civilian sector (costly) or else depriving military medical personnel from other tasks. Now it has been a while since the Telegraph has had someone waxing lyrical about bringing back National Service:

"Want a discounted medical degree? Come sail the seven seas on HMS Hancock"

I'd imagine you'd want a wide mixture of skills and backgrounds if the focus is HADR. However if we're talking Role 3 Primary Casualty Receiving Facility (like RFA Argus) you would need staff with the kind of specialist skills they have at the military wing in the QE Hospital, Birmingham - which are drawn from all three armed services.

If you're not aiming at that level then there are far easier ways to solve this, other than a new designated ship. The carriers have limited (Role 2) facilities that could probably be supplemented with some prefabs facilities in the hangar, should we be faced with a natural disaster or global health catastrophe. On a smaller (less expensive) ship I'm sure you could replicate these facilities in a modular fashion, with space for expansion or specialised modules (quarantine/burns/CBRN/etc.) if and when needed.

Once again, having an extra Bay Class would have been quite helpful for this kind of purpose, because I can't imagine you'd get much multi-role use out of a designated hospital ship built for a government department, probably to a tight budget.

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

Postby Jake1992 » 03 Mar 2020, 20:23

Jensy wrote:
Jake1992 wrote:
SW1 wrote:Do dfid personal crew them or if not who and what would there status be


This is something that really does need to be worked out. You can’t have normal civi crews when under MOD use but at the same time it’s not really fair to lump the crew need and cost on the RN or RFA when being used in other areas.


The implication from The Times...

A new UK medical ship funded by the Department for International Development (Dfid) but operated by the Royal Navy would offer the dual benefit of bolstering the armed service’s stretched fleet and budget while projecting British influence overseas


...is that this would be a sneaky way of raiding the DfID piggy bank to benefit the Royal Navy. Whether it could be done is up for debate. There is a rather powerful 'aid lobby' who will be worried about their pet projects being deprived of funding and might fight against this.

RFA/RN manpower shortages are worrying but personally it's the medical staffing that concerns me more than the ship's company. The NHS is not exactly flush with additional staff who could be 'press-ganged' for a designated hospital ship. So either you're diverting medical staff from the civilian sector (costly) or else depriving military medical personnel from other tasks. Now it has been a while since the Telegraph has had someone waxing lyrical about bringing back National Service:

"Want a discounted medical degree? Come sail the seven seas on HMS Hancock"

I'd imagine you'd want a wide mixture of skills and backgrounds if the focus is HADR. However if we're talking Role 3 Primary Casualty Receiving Facility (like RFA Argus) you would need staff with the kind of specialist skills they have at the military wing in the QE Hospital, Birmingham - which are drawn from all three armed services.

If you're not aiming at that level then there are far easier ways to solve this, other than a new designated ship. The carriers have limited (Role 2) facilities that could probably be supplemented with some prefabs facilities in the hangar, should we be faced with a natural disaster or global health catastrophe. On a smaller (less expensive) ship I'm sure you could replicate these facilities in a modular fashion, with space for expansion or specialised modules (quarantine/burns/CBRN/etc.) if and when needed.

Once again, having an extra Bay Class would have been quite helpful for this kind of purpose, because I can't imagine you'd get much multi-role use out of a designated hospital ship built for a government department, probably to a tight budget.


Completely agree the man of such vessels is what’s going to be the tricky spot not only finding the man power but who pays for it.

could it be possible for it to be Rn / RFA manned but the cost of this new man power come out of the DFID budget ?

How long would it take to design build and bring in to service such vessels ? Could this give time to recruit and train the new personal needed ?

Considering that the aid budget is one area of government spending that any cuts to or better spending of the money would get great public backing I think the current government is in a very strong position to tell the lobby groups where to stick their silly projects that have next to note to do with actual aid.

I agree a dedicated hospital ship would have very little over all benefit but a HADR vessel with a large medical set up would. If it had a role 3 set up similar in size to Argus then there is her replacement, while also being able to help relive the bays from some HADR roles freeing them up for other tasks.

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

Postby SW1 » 03 Mar 2020, 20:58

Also pretty pointless having 1 ship for HDAR. It’s location to a disaster will be to an extent luck. Is it going to be pre positioned in the Caribbean? What if there’s say an typhoon in the Philippines, or say an earthquake in Nepal or floods in Mozambique?

With potentially disaster resources assigned to a single concentrated assets it maybe less useful for its intended purpose.

It’s also unlikely a disaster first response would require a full role 3 facility which would take time to man and store up. And if it’s funded by dfid and it’s required for militarily tasking what happens if there’s a natural disaster

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

Postby Jake1992 » 03 Mar 2020, 21:26

SW1 wrote:Also pretty pointless having 1 ship for HDAR. It’s location to a disaster will be to an extent luck. Is it going to be pre positioned in the Caribbean? What if there’s say an typhoon in the Philippines, or say an earthquake in Nepal or floods in Mozambique?

With potentially disaster resources assigned to a single concentrated assets it maybe less useful for its intended purpose.

It’s also unlikely a disaster first response would require a full role 3 facility which would take time to man and store up. And if it’s funded by dfid and it’s required for militarily tasking what happens if there’s a natural disaster


If it was down to me I’d go for 2 of said vessels to make sure one is always available or they can do 6 month odd stretches each.

It’s just like today the UK doesn’t respond to every disaster nor does it get to them at drop of a hat notice but that doesn’t mean there not a need for vessels that can undertake this role.

Who’s saying that all the UK HADR capabilities will be concentrated sole on these vessels ? Just because they can do this role it doesn’t mean others like the bays still won’t be able to, it simply means they could help relieve the bays that currently focus on this role.

No not all HADR will need role 3 facilities but just like the the current Argus it’s about getting the most out of a platform by marrying 2 roles in one vessel.

When it comes down to if it’s needed for a military task it’s down to HMG to decide what the priority is, just like with the bays today what happens if they’re responding to a disaster and suddenly needed for a military task ?
It doesn’t matter so much which department funds them, they just like with any MOD equipment are all property of HMG so will be assigned to what ever HMG priorities, remember Britannia wasn’t a military vessel put was pushed in to the hospital role when needed.

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

Postby RB211 » 03 Mar 2020, 21:29

It strikes me that a Bay-class would be as a pretty good replacement for RFA Argus. Similar length (and I assume good stability in various sea states to support complex surgical procedures), ability to transfer casualties via the well dock, and plenty of flight deck space. With the added advantage of being better suited than Argus for HADR assistance.

So how about ‘selling’ an existing bay from the MoD budget to the DfID (at fair market value), dropping it into a refit at CL to add a hanger & transfer the medical kit from Argus, and then feeding back into the RFA to operate using DfID funding?

And then use the funds gained from ‘selling’ the Bay to support the reactivation of the second Albion LPD. Obviously Bay class vessels are extremely flexible assets, but the resulting amphibious fleet of 2 x LSD plus 2 x LSD(a) would still be quite effective. Assuming that the reallocated Bay would then pick up the HADR mission to the Caribbean, would it really have a detrimental effect on the RN/RFA?

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

Postby SW1 » 03 Mar 2020, 21:45

Jake1992 wrote:
SW1 wrote:Also pretty pointless having 1 ship for HDAR. It’s location to a disaster will be to an extent luck. Is it going to be pre positioned in the Caribbean? What if there’s say an typhoon in the Philippines, or say an earthquake in Nepal or floods in Mozambique?

With potentially disaster resources assigned to a single concentrated assets it maybe less useful for its intended purpose.

It’s also unlikely a disaster first response would require a full role 3 facility which would take time to man and store up. And if it’s funded by dfid and it’s required for militarily tasking what happens if there’s a natural disaster


If it was down to me I’d go for 2 of said vessels to make sure one is always available or they can do 6 month odd stretches each.

It’s just like today the UK doesn’t respond to every disaster nor does it get to them at drop of a hat notice but that doesn’t mean there not a need for vessels that can undertake this role.

Who’s saying that all the UK HADR capabilities will be concentrated sole on these vessels ? Just because they can do this role it doesn’t mean others like the bays still won’t be able to, it simply means they could help relieve the bays that currently focus on this role.

No not all HADR will need role 3 facilities but just like the the current Argus it’s about getting the most out of a platform by marrying 2 roles in one vessel.

When it comes down to if it’s needed for a military task it’s down to HMG to decide what the priority is, just like with the bays today what happens if they’re responding to a disaster and suddenly needed for a military task ?
It doesn’t matter so much which department funds them, they just like with any MOD equipment are all property of HMG so will be assigned to what ever HMG priorities, remember Britannia wasn’t a military vessel put was pushed in to the hospital role when needed.


The UK responds to disasters that are large enough to warrant a assigning a vessel.

If we are continuing to have other assets assigned to disaster relief Then this idea is nothing other than an attempt to acquire another ship for the rn that it has refused to prioritise with money to buy.

If that’s the case and there’s a military role and requirement for it then stop the nonsense and fund it from where it should the mod budget and not buggering about trying to be clever.

UK response with assets is at the earliest of stages as a first responder with emergency aid it’s pointless turning up 4 weeks later when everyone’s leaving and NGOs have taken over.

As far as I’m aware the bay which was in the Caribbean has been relieved of the role

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

Postby Jake1992 » 03 Mar 2020, 21:57

SW1 wrote:
Jake1992 wrote:
SW1 wrote:Also pretty pointless having 1 ship for HDAR. It’s location to a disaster will be to an extent luck. Is it going to be pre positioned in the Caribbean? What if there’s say an typhoon in the Philippines, or say an earthquake in Nepal or floods in Mozambique?

With potentially disaster resources assigned to a single concentrated assets it maybe less useful for its intended purpose.

It’s also unlikely a disaster first response would require a full role 3 facility which would take time to man and store up. And if it’s funded by dfid and it’s required for militarily tasking what happens if there’s a natural disaster


If it was down to me I’d go for 2 of said vessels to make sure one is always available or they can do 6 month odd stretches each.

It’s just like today the UK doesn’t respond to every disaster nor does it get to them at drop of a hat notice but that doesn’t mean there not a need for vessels that can undertake this role.

Who’s saying that all the UK HADR capabilities will be concentrated sole on these vessels ? Just because they can do this role it doesn’t mean others like the bays still won’t be able to, it simply means they could help relieve the bays that currently focus on this role.

No not all HADR will need role 3 facilities but just like the the current Argus it’s about getting the most out of a platform by marrying 2 roles in one vessel.

When it comes down to if it’s needed for a military task it’s down to HMG to decide what the priority is, just like with the bays today what happens if they’re responding to a disaster and suddenly needed for a military task ?
It doesn’t matter so much which department funds them, they just like with any MOD equipment are all property of HMG so will be assigned to what ever HMG priorities, remember Britannia wasn’t a military vessel put was pushed in to the hospital role when needed.


The UK responds to disasters that are large enough to warrant a assigning a vessel.

If we are continuing to have other assets assigned to disaster relief Then this idea is nothing other than an attempt to acquire another ship for the rn that it has refused to prioritise with money to buy.

If that’s the case and there’s a military role and requirement for it then stop the nonsense and fund it from where it should the mod budget and not buggering about trying to be clever.

UK response with assets is at the earliest of stages as a first responder with emergency aid it’s pointless turning up 4 weeks later when everyone’s leaving and NGOs have taken over.

As far as I’m aware the bay which was in the Caribbean has been relieved of the role


So you agree there is a need for vessels that can undertake HADR
You agree that we don’t respond to every disaster only ones were warrant large enough to need it

But your problem is using some of the very large DFID budget to build and fund “aid” ships and believe because they could have a secondary military role they should be funded out of the over stretched MOD budget.

As for the bays even if it’s not dedicated to the Caribbean right now with how often large scale disasters happen there they will no doubt be pulled in. Aid ship would mean this is no necessary.

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

Postby SW1 » 03 Mar 2020, 22:29

Jake1992 wrote:
SW1 wrote:
Jake1992 wrote:
SW1 wrote:Also pretty pointless having 1 ship for HDAR. It’s location to a disaster will be to an extent luck. Is it going to be pre positioned in the Caribbean? What if there’s say an typhoon in the Philippines, or say an earthquake in Nepal or floods in Mozambique?

With potentially disaster resources assigned to a single concentrated assets it maybe less useful for its intended purpose.

It’s also unlikely a disaster first response would require a full role 3 facility which would take time to man and store up. And if it’s funded by dfid and it’s required for militarily tasking what happens if there’s a natural disaster


If it was down to me I’d go for 2 of said vessels to make sure one is always available or they can do 6 month odd stretches each.

It’s just like today the UK doesn’t respond to every disaster nor does it get to them at drop of a hat notice but that doesn’t mean there not a need for vessels that can undertake this role.

Who’s saying that all the UK HADR capabilities will be concentrated sole on these vessels ? Just because they can do this role it doesn’t mean others like the bays still won’t be able to, it simply means they could help relieve the bays that currently focus on this role.

No not all HADR will need role 3 facilities but just like the the current Argus it’s about getting the most out of a platform by marrying 2 roles in one vessel.

When it comes down to if it’s needed for a military task it’s down to HMG to decide what the priority is, just like with the bays today what happens if they’re responding to a disaster and suddenly needed for a military task ?
It doesn’t matter so much which department funds them, they just like with any MOD equipment are all property of HMG so will be assigned to what ever HMG priorities, remember Britannia wasn’t a military vessel put was pushed in to the hospital role when needed.


The UK responds to disasters that are large enough to warrant a assigning a vessel.

If we are continuing to have other assets assigned to disaster relief Then this idea is nothing other than an attempt to acquire another ship for the rn that it has refused to prioritise with money to buy.

If that’s the case and there’s a military role and requirement for it then stop the nonsense and fund it from where it should the mod budget and not buggering about trying to be clever.

UK response with assets is at the earliest of stages as a first responder with emergency aid it’s pointless turning up 4 weeks later when everyone’s leaving and NGOs have taken over.

As far as I’m aware the bay which was in the Caribbean has been relieved of the role


So you agree there is a need for vessels that can undertake HADR
You agree that we don’t respond to every disaster only ones were warrant large enough to need it

But your problem is using some of the very large DFID budget to build and fund “aid” ships and believe because they could have a secondary military role they should be funded out of the over stretched MOD budget.

As for the bays even if it’s not dedicated to the Caribbean right now with how often large scale disasters happen there they will no doubt be pulled in. Aid ship would mean this is no necessary.


Vessels undertake hadr when they are assigned from there deployed location and nor is it just a vessel they have rotary wing assets, recon, communications and engineering capability onboard, as do assets and personnel flown out from uk.

They respond to the major ones with military assets they respond to most with aid delivery.

If the RN needs to buy a hospital ship then it’s bought for that purpose.

If you think the aid budget is too large then you cut it and assign to other departments. You don’t bugger about trying to be too smart for you own good

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

Postby donald_of_tokyo » 04 Mar 2020, 01:59

SW1 wrote:
Jake1992 wrote:So you agree there is a need for vessels that can undertake HADR
You agree that we don’t respond to every disaster only ones were warrant large enough to need it

But your problem is using some of the very large DFID budget to build and fund “aid” ships and believe because they could have a secondary military role they should be funded out of the over stretched MOD budget.

As for the bays even if it’s not dedicated to the Caribbean right now with how often large scale disasters happen there they will no doubt be pulled in. Aid ship would mean this is no necessary.


Vessels undertake hadr when they are assigned from there deployed location and nor is it just a vessel they have rotary wing assets, recon, communications and engineering capability onboard, as do assets and personnel flown out from uk.

They respond to the major ones with military assets they respond to most with aid delivery.

If the RN needs to buy a hospital ship then it’s bought for that purpose.

If you think the aid budget is too large then you cut it and assign to other departments. You don’t bugger about trying to be too smart for you own good
While I am (a bit) with Jake-san, I think there is no big controversy between you two.

Politics is reality. Military is reality. And, HADR is reality. What is important is what can be really sent to the "theater", and not how it must be shaped.

If you can CUT DfID budget by several millions per year and send it to MOD budget, RFA Argus replacement can take shape. (Yes, its a small fraction, but GDP-ratio remains). If not, it is just that, RN shall abandon that capability, sadly, simply "because of no money". This is my proposal opinion.

In turn, this decision will FORCE HMG to move forward to build a dedicated "hospital ship" and/or "HADR ship". Looking into discussions last year, it looks like the two ideas are "mixed" in THEIR discussion. But, just let it go. In this case, it is THEIR task =DfID's task to prepare such assets.

Note, I am here talking about Hospital ship, not HADR asset. If DfID claims they will ALSO cover HADR, good, just let it go. It will further reduce the amount of tasks RN/RFA's OPV/Bay shall cover. In all aspect, HADR tasks is a governmental task, just including RFA and RN, and this "hospital ship" in future. For example, I understand the HADR cargo/food/medicine is NOT payed by RN. So, it is currently not a MOD-only tasks.

But, I might be wrong here on considering how the "hospital ships" are to be operated. Can Spanish hospital ship Esperanza del Mar be a good example? It looks like NOT operated by Navy.

ref: https://www.savetheroyalnavy.org/the-pl ... l-support/

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

Postby RichardIC » 04 Mar 2020, 09:26

On a day when the news is dominated by the need for medical staff to come out of retirement to deal with COVID-19, yeah, let’s build a hospital ship!

Jake1992 wrote:remember Britannia wasn’t a military vessel put was pushed in to the hospital role when needed.


Britannia was a military vessel and was never pushed into the hospital role.

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

Postby Jake1992 » 04 Mar 2020, 09:55

RichardIC wrote:On a day when the news is dominated by the need for medical staff to come out of retirement to deal with COVID-19, yeah, let’s build a hospital ship!

Jake1992 wrote:remember Britannia wasn’t a military vessel put was pushed in to the hospital role when needed.


Britannia was a military vessel and was never pushed into the hospital role.


My mistake I was under the impression that she was used as a hospital ship during the Falklands war, when looking at it further turns out she was planed to be used in that role but didn’t ended doing so this was only because she used different fuel to the rest of the fleet though.

My point though stands that if HMG have a hospital ship or a HADR with large role 3 medical then if it hits the fan and the RN need such a capability HMG are not going to turn around as say sorry she’s not yours you can use her.
We have to remember that if the RN suddenly need a 100+ bed role 3 medical vessel then it’s probably going to mean we are in quiet a serious conflict.

With regard to the comment that we don’t have the staff with the whole covid-19 situation we are going to be putting such vessels out to sea tomorrow are we, it most likely going to take many years before they come about but I agree staffing is still going to be a tricky one to sort before in recruiting and in which department pays for them.

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

Postby RichardIC » 04 Mar 2020, 10:32

Jake1992 wrote:With regard to the comment that we don’t have the staff with the whole covid-19 situation we are going to be putting such vessels out to sea tomorrow are we, it most likely going to take many years before they come about but I agree staffing is still going to be a tricky one to sort before in recruiting and in which department pays for them.


If you can’t get the clinical staff, don’t do it. It’s as simple as that.

And the UK has a chronic shortage of clinicians.

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

Postby Tempest414 » 04 Mar 2020, 10:46

To be clear the UK needs a PCRS it is all about service men and women and there families knowing they will be given medical support when they have to fight. And no we can't always say a field hospital can be set up so if this comes in the form of a hospital ship or a current RFA ship being re-roled that is what needs to happen

As for the NHS or the 400 Trusts that make up the NHS it is to top heavy and piss poorly managed at this time with no real care given to keeping staff this is fact so please lets not make out that the NHS is fit for this country and that any party is going to fix it this new viris will come and go it will take 2000 to 4000 people with it ( 2000 less than common flu takes each year)


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