The dust and heat of Afghanistan, severed limbs, emergency treatment in a helicopter – this was the scene greeting the Archbishop of York when he visited Strensall Barracks.

The base’s Army Medical Services Training Centre is the leading training and trauma centre in the world, and a replica of Camp Bastion’s hospital in Afghanistan.

During his visit, Dr John Sentamu toured the unit and met many of the personnel from 208 Field Hospital, who will run Camp Bastion’s hospital for three months when they are deployed there next week.

With four operating rooms, emergency areas and a laboratory, the personnel train in real time and conditions in the unit, which can be altered at the touch of a button to simulate the dust and heat of Afghanistan. There is also a team of make-up artists who create realistic injuries, including severed limbs.

There is a mock-up of an Afghanistan village, where medical personnel locate casualties and administer treatment, and a replica up of a Chinook helicopter allows training to mirror war conditions where treatment is given during flight.

The archbishop said: “You genuinely feel that anybody who is going to be in difficulty out there is going to be given the best medical treatment available. It’s breathtaking to see very well trained doctors, nurses and paramedics going through an amazing course and you can rest assured that they are going to do a fantastic job when they are out there.

“It’s wonderful to see first of all how committed they are to the training and then to be able to deliver it very well – that’s exciting!

“Our armed forces are the best in the world and it’s important we keep them, and their families, in our prayers as they go out to Afghanistan. I hope and pray these brave men and women will all return home safely.”

208 Field Hospital is Liverpool-based, and has come to Strensall to complete and validate training.