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New facility will help sailors back to full fighting fitness

30 June 2022
A new £90,000 facility to help sailors get back to full fitness and frontline operations has been opened at Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose.

The Primary Care Rehabilitation Facility is stocked with nearly £90,000 of dedicated physical training equipment, purchased by Defence Primary Healthcare.

It is in the station’s sports centre, but separate from the main part of the gym, offering a private space for those undergoing treatment from the physiotherapy staff or exercise rehabilitation instructors.

Petty Officer Physical Trainer James Best, who led the three-year project, said: “It was clear upon joining RNAS Culdrose that our patients were not getting the support they needed. As clinicians we didn’t have access to the infrastructure or equipment required to effectively rehabilitate those under our care.

“After various hurdles to get this project over the line, we have finally secured the space and equipment to ensure we offer the best possible service to our personnel.

“It has greatly improved the standard of care we can provide and the investment into this facility has been huge. I have observed a huge positive impact in the patients and their mindsets, knowing they have access to a space that is solely dedicated to them.”

Opening the facility, Surgeon Captain Beth Crowson said: “Anyone who has been injured knows how important it is get people back to full operations are returned to the frontline as soon as possible. This facility is pivotal to that. That is why we are here and why Defence invests in primary care facilities like this one.”

Petty Officer Amanda Mancey is an aircraft controller and currently works as a drone instructor with 700X Naval Air Squadron. She has had reconstructive surgery on her ankle and is having treatment at the new centre.

“It’s fantastic – it’s a massive change,” she said. “You can come here if you’ve got your programmes to complete. There isn’t always the space in the main gym. It lets you focus on what you’re doing, knowing that the people around you are in the same situation.”

Air Engineering Technician Bradley Campion tore a ligament in his knee during a football match. It meant it could not climb the ladders to fix the helicopters at 814 Naval Air Squadron. Following an operation, he is now having physiotherapy to get back to full strength, as well as training for promotion to leading hand.

“Any injury can be very isolating,” he said. “I was able to do office-based roles on the squadron but not the one I’ve trained for. In this new room, it’s quiet and there’s none of the natural competitiveness you get in the rest of the gym. I am getting better. You trust the process and you trust the physio.”

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