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Post-Gulf Conflict Health Measures

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence (Dr. Lewis Moonie): Building on the extensive measures put in place to protect the health of our personnel deployed to the Gulf, the Ministry of Defence has decided to conduct research into the physical and psychological health of those who have been involved in the conflict. It is too soon to know whether health concerns will emerge, but we are of course conscious of the range of physical and psychological health concerns reported by veterans of the 1990–91 Gulf conflict. If health concerns arise out of the current operations, we will want to identify and investigate them as soon as possible.

We therefore propose to put in place the following measures once the units currently deployed have returned from theatre, as I promised in my answer to the Member for North Cornwall (Mr Tyler) of 14 April 2003 (Official Report, column 570W).

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All regular and reservist Service personnel and MOD civilians who deployed and have concerns about their health, will be able to attend a Medical Assessment Programme (MAP) run by MOD at St Thomas's Hospital, on referral by their doctor. The MAP will not provide treatment; it will assess patients and recommend treatment

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as appropriate. This facility will be made available to attached voluntary aid society personnel, contractors and embedded journalists on a repayment basis.

Detailed arrangements are now being made and will be announced when they are available.