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Mrs. Dorries: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence by what criteria claims by former members of the armed services in relation to Gulf war syndrome are assessed; and if he will make a statement. 
by making a comparison between the condition of the member as so disabled and the condition of a normal healthy person of the same age and sex, without taking into account the earning capacity of the member in his disabled condition in his own or any other specific trade or occupation, and without taking into account the effect of any individual factors or extraneous circumstances."
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many further helicopters are to be deployed to Afghanistan over the next six months, broken down by type; 
27 Feb 2006 : Column 19W
Mr. Ingram: Three helicopters have recently arrived in Afghanistan. As announced by Secretary of State on 26 January 2006, 18 helicopters will deploy to Afghanistan over the next six months: eight AH-64 Apache attack helicopters, four Lynx light utility helicopters and six CH-47 Chinook support helicopters. These assets will be available to support all UK troops and are not allocated to a specific regiment. They will be allocated according to operational priorities. On-going helicopter support is available from other coalition nations.
Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what discussions his Department has had with the Indian government about the EH101 to meet the Indian requirement for 80 medium-lift helicopters; 
Mr. Ingram: Exploratory discussions have taken place on a number of occasions towards achieving a greater understanding of India's requirements for medium-lift helicopters and multi-role combat aircraft.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 7 February 2006, Official Report, column 1087W, on the Type 23 frigate, why HMS Argyll has received different consideration from the rest of the Type 23 fleet. 
Mr. Ingram: The operational requirement is for 12 Type 23 frigates to be modified to operate the Merlin helicopter. The decision on which ships are to be modified is determined by the fitting opportunities within the frigate upkeep programme. On current plans HMS Argyll will not be modified as the requirement will be met by other frigates with earlier fitting opportunities within the upkeep programme. Should the programme change, then the situation will be reviewed.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the (a) deployments and (b) the length of time between each deployment for each infantry battalion in the past five years. 
Mr. Arbuthnot: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 1 February 2006, Official Report, column 28W, on Afghanistan, if his Department will publish casualty figures broken down in the same way as those for Iraq for (a) Afghanistan, (b) Kosovo and (c) other areas of deployment. 
Mr. Ingram: We have undertaken to provide casualty statistics for Afghanistan from 1 January 2006 to the same conventions as Iraq. Work is ongoing to revise the publication of casualty statistics for all other areas of deployment. I will write to the right hon. Member when it is complete, and place a copy of my letter in the Library of the House.
Mr. Touhig: The formal framework for discussions between the two Departments is set out in a concordat, first signed by my predecessor and his Department of Health (DH) counterpart in 2002, and revised in 2005 to include the other UK health authorities, which sets out how the Defence Medical Services (DMS) and the NHS will work together to further their individual and mutual aims of delivering high quality health care to both the UK armed forces and NHS patients.
A joint MOD/DH Partnership Board, co-chaired by senior MOD and DH personnel, meets three times a year to monitor the effectiveness of the concordat and to explore mutual areas of co-operation. I am kept informed of the work of the Partnership Board. In 2005, the Partnership Board approved revised health guidance for the NHS covering, among other things, arrangements for the treatment of service personnel in NHS hospitals and the continuing care of service personnel on retirement or discharge from the armed forces.
Under the umbrella of the Partnership Board, in accordance with the concordat, numerous other official level discussions, both formal and informal, take place as required at the national and local level, on an ongoing basis to ensure that the health needs of injured service personnel are met across the entire patient pathway (from reception, including airlift from theatre, to rehabilitation and return to active service or discharge).
Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his answer of 2 February 2006, Official Report, column 705W, on the Iraq service medal, how many (a) contractors, (b) aid personnel, (c) consultants, (d) private security staff and (e) journalists have been awarded the Iraq medal; and if he will list those in each category. 
Mr. Touhig: The records for Iraq Medal awards to consultants, private security staff and contractors are not identifiable separately from each other. As at 14 February 2006, the following medals had been issued to civilian personnel who have served or are serving in direct support of Operation Telic.
|Category||Number of medals issued|
Mr. Ingram: Operational costs directly relating to the deployment of troops and equipment to Kuwait were subsumed within the overall operation in Iraq. The annual audited figures for the costs of operations in Iraq for the financial year 200203 was £848 million.
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