Routines at sea 7 - Changing concept of hospital ships from 1980s - 1990s

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Jullia MasseyJulia Massey

Service: 1968 - 1996

Rate: Captain

Julia joined the QARNNS (Queen Alexandra Royal Naval Nursing Service) in 1968 and worked at Royal Naval Hospital Haslar, a number of medical facilities in Malta, RNH Plymouth, HMS Pembroke and RNH Hong Kong. In 1982, she was part of the nursing team embarked on SS Uganda for the Falklands War and during the Gulf War she was responsible for allocating nurses to RFA Argus. In 1994 she was involved with the Defence Cost Studies Report which led to the closure of the RN Hospitals, the establishment of tri-service training and the reduction of the QARNNS by nearly a half.


Julia compares the change in requirements for hospital ships between the Falklands and the Gulf War.


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Extract Text (Duration 1.03)

By that time, you know, the whole concept of really anybody going to a conflict in a... in a cruise-liner as we did has become out of the question because of the nuclear, chemical and biological threat; that the likelihoods of their ever being a Uganda-type hospital ship in any future war or conflict must be minimal. The hospital in Argus is a whole unit that was put in onto one of the helicopter repair decks and it is in its own complete citadel and can be shut down, you know, for all the NBC threat which has to be taken seriously in any conflict that will happen in the future. So, you know, the nature of QARNNS nurses going to sea, in ten years, has totally changed so they needed to be far more equipped and trained.