On Thursday 21 February I visited the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center and Fisher House in southern Germany.
Landstuhl is a United States military hospital utilised by the Australian Defence Force to provide care and treatment for Australian personnel being medically evacuated from Afghanistan and the Middle East Area of Operations after suffering serious wounds.
Since 2001, 58 ADF personnel have been airlifted to Landstuhl for specialised treatment and stabilisation prior to their aero-medical evacuation to Australia.
Landstuhl is the primary health care facility for United States military personnel in Europe and the evacuation and treatment centre for United States personnel in Africa, Europe and the Middle East.
Landstuhl has a staff of over 2,200 military and civilian personnel, 8 operating rooms, 145 inpatient beds and 18 intensive care beds.
Fisher House, co-located with the Landstuhl health facility, provides a free, ‘home away from home’ for relatives of patients evacuated to Landstuhl.
Fisher House is managed by a not for profit foundation run by volunteers and supported by community donations and government funding.
Fisher House has provided crucial support to the families of evacuated Australian troops.
In June 2012, the Australian Government donated $225,000 to the Fisher House Foundation in recognition of this support.
I thanked the Commanding Officer of Landstuhl, Colonel Barbara Holcomb, for the excellent medical treatment and support the United States has provided to Australian troops.
I also thanked the Manager of Fisher House, Ms Vivien Wilson, for all the support provided to the families of Australian service men and women.
With the challenge of security transition in Afghanistan, will come the challenge of making sure we look after our returning service men and women.
The care of wounded, injured and ill current and former military personnel should rightly be a high priority for the Government and the Australian community.
This care will become an increasingly important focus of Australia's time in Afghanistan.
Mr Smith’s Office: Andrew Porter (02) 6277 7800 or 0419 474 392