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University Hospital Birmingham

Mr. Viggers: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much investment his Department proposes to make at University Hospital Birmingham; and what facilities of his Department are planned to be developed there. [141381]

Dr. Moonie: We are currently in the process of establishing the new Centre for Defence Medicine (CDM), which will have important academic, teaching, and clinical functions, in partnership with University Hospital Birmingham (UHB) NHS Trust and others. Some £1 million is being spent on the refurbishment of a building at UHB's Selly Oak Hospital to provide headquarters accommodation for the CDM, but apart from this the centre will use existing facilities belonging to the trust and its academic and clinical partner. In the long-term it is intended that it will also use infrastructure constructed as part of UHB's planned Private Finance Initiative hospital development. This will involve no direct investment by the Ministry of Defence.

It is possible, but not yet certain, that the MOD will need to invest in new domestic accommodation for personnel at the CDM, but this would not involve UHB. As it might be the subject of contractual negotiations, I am withholding our internal estimate of costs under exemption 7 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.

Selly Oak Hospital

Mr. Viggers: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many of his Department's medical staff are working at Selly Oak Hospital; and for what reason. [141380]

Dr. Moonie: As at 7 December 2000, the numbers of Defence Medical Services personnel serving at the Selly Oak Hospital and their roles are as follows:

In addition, a member of the Adjutant General's Corps is serving as Chief Clerk at the CDM. A Specialist Registrar in Anaesthetics is also serving at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (which is part of the University Hospital Birmingham NHS Trust) on a routine placement not directly connected with the CDM.

13 Dec 2000 : Column: 162W

Official Publications

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list each new publication issued by his Department since 1997 and the total cost to the Department of each publication. [141472]

Dr. Moonie [holding answer 11 December 2000]: My Department produces a huge range of publications for both internal and external purposes. No central record is kept of these and it would not be possible to list each new publication, and the total costs to the Department, without incurring disproportionate costs.

However, we do have central records of the publications produced by our central corporate communications division and its predecessors, which is responsible for most corporate and policy publications. From the information available, the following main publications have been produced since financial year 1997-98.

Financial year 1997-98
Britain's Defence Booklet728,000
Focus Internal Newspaper204,930
Sanctuary Conservation Booklet22,297
Permanent Joint HQ Publication7,955
MOD Organisational Booklet4,000
Conservation Brochure11,258
Departmental Performance Report(4)--
Financial year 1998-99
Strategic Defence Review (CMD 999)(4)--
Departmental Performance Report(4)--
Defence Booklets55,988
Defence Annual Report19,051
Sanctuary Conservation Booklet24,194
Defence Factsheets11,991
Focus Internal Newspaper167,791
Financial year 1999-2000
Defence White Paper (CMD 4446)(4)--
Defence Annual Report and Mission Booklets17,514
Defence Booklets25,373
Defence Factsheets (series of 28)47,868
Factsheets (Welsh Language)8,439
Large text/Braille/audio material24,475
Focus Internal Newspaper174,329
Departmental Performance Report(4)--
Financial year 2000-01
MOD Factsheets (series of 33)22,782
Factsheets (Welsh Language)10,480
Corporate Booklets32,364
Kosovo Lessons From the Crisis (CMD 4724)(4)--
Departmental Performance Report(4)--
Focus Internal Newspaper103,918

(4) Costs borne by Stationery Office


Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if his Department's civilian Salvage and Mooring Organisation has the experience, resources, and training to carry out the Kursk operation; what expertise RN personnel have regarding the deep-water intervention activity necessary for this operation; and if he will make a statement. [142163]

Mr. Spellar: The Ministry of Defence's Salvage and Mooring Organisation would not have the lead on a rescue attempt similar to that undertaken for the Kursk. Instead

13 Dec 2000 : Column: 163W

such an attempt would fall to our Submarine and Rescue Service based on the LR5 manned submersible and the Scorpio remotely operated vehicle. As I explained to the hon. Member in written correspondence, our Submarine and Rescue System has the capability to deal with rescue from depths of 400m and to angles of up to 60 degrees. I also refer the hon. Member to the answers I gave him on 20 November 2000, Official Report, columns 7-8W and on 24 November 2000, Official Report, columns 336-37W.

Dog Training

Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his policy is on the use of electric shock-collars in dog training. [142122]

Dr. Moonie: No use is made of electric shock-collars in any dog training carried out by the Ministry of Defence.

Medical Staff

Mr. Viggers: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many doctors, nurses and other medical staff have been posted away from the Royal Hospital Haslar to take up overseas posts in the last three months; and what proportion this represents of all such medical overseas postings in the period. [141382]

Dr. Moonie: In the three months ended 30 November 2000, 56 Defence Medical Services personnel from the Royal Hospital Haslar and the four Ministry of Defence Hospital Units were deployed overseas on military operations. Of the 56 personnel, 27 were deployed from the Royal Hospital Haslar. In addition, 18 Regular personnel from other units and volunteer Reservists were similarly deployed.

In the same period, 14 Service medical personnel from Haslar and the four Ministry of Defence Hospital Units took up long term postings overseas, six of whom were from the Royal Hospital Haslar.

Chemical Weapons

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he plans to subject the report of the zinc cadmium sulphide trials by Professor Peter Lachmann published in March this year to peer review by other scientists. [142412]

Dr. Moonie: I understand that Professor Lachmann and his colleagues plan to arrange publication and peer review of a scientific paper based on their report.

Porton Down Volunteers

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if the advice from the Medical Research Council on an independent epidemiological study of Porton Down volunteers will be made public once that advice has been received; [142419]

Dr. Moonie: I have placed a copy of my Department's letter to the Medical Research Council (MRC) in the Library of the House. Some text has been removed under the Code of Practice on Access to Government

13 Dec 2000 : Column: 164W

Information, Exemptions 11, 12 and 14. The MRC's advice, which is still awaited, will form the basis for decisions which my Department will make public in due course.

Staffordshire Regiment

Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the Strategic Defence Review Learning Forces initiative and the Staffordshire Regiment. [142150]

Mr. Spellar: The Strategic Defence Review (SDR) included a commitment to develop a learning culture in the armed forces through the Learning Forces Initiative (LFI). This initiative encourages learning and aims to furnish all Service personnel with the skills they need to make the best possible contribution during their Service careers and equip them to return to civilian life in due course. Soldiers of the Staffordshire Regiment, like all other Service personnel, are able to take advantage of these improved opportunities for learning. The Staffordshire Regiment is based in Tidworth which houses one of the four pilot Army Learning Centres where soldiers will have on-line access to a wide range of learning opportunities.

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