Military hospitals are facing further change in the wake of an 18-month review prompted by concerns about staff shortages and morale raised by the defence select committee.

A business plan issued internally by the Defence Secondary Care Agency says ministers have considered the conclusions of the review, but work is still needed to 'examine the implications if DSCA be tasked formally to provide a peacetime health service'.

Currently, the agency's main role is to support frontline troops. A review of the need for a 'core' services hospital is also in train, following 'serious local and national discussions' about the future of Royal Hospital Haslar in Gosport.

And a review of service hospital requirements in the north of England has been launched following the decision to close acute inpatient facilities at Duchess of Kent Hospital, Catterick.

But the future of three Ministry of Defence hospital units located in English trusts seems assured.