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21 Feb 2007 : Column 734W—continued

Mental Health

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what proportion of (a) soldiers in the Army and (b) soldiers serving in Iraq have been diagnosed with a mental health condition in the last 12 months. [111820]

Derek Twigg: Between 1 October 2005 and 30 September 2006, 792 UK service personnel (regular and reservists) who deployed to Iraq on Operation Telic were diagnosed by the Defence Medical Services at a Department of Community Mental Health (DCMH) with a mental health condition thought to be related to their deployment. We are unable to break this figure down by service as this information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

However, we are able to break down the number of Army personnel admitted to our independent provider of in-patient mental health treatment. In the period 1 April 2006 to 15 February 2007, 311 personnel were admitted in total, of which 184 were members of the Army.

MOD has sponsored research by Kings College, London to gain further understanding of the extent of mental health problems encountered by those who have served on Operation Telic. Kings College London published reports in May 2006 which concluded that the overwhelming majority of our servicemen and women are returning from operations in Iraq in good health, and that there has been no significant difference between the mental health of regulars who did deploy to Iraq and of those who did not.

The study did find that a slightly higher percentage of reservists who served on Telic 1 displayed symptoms of common mental health problems and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) than reservists who did not deploy. I announced on 21 November 2006, Official Report, column 28WS, the start of a new scheme offering assessment and mental healthcare for demobilised reservists to address this.

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 14 December 2006, Official Report, column 1256-7W, on Mental Health, how many mental health social workers his Department employed in each year since 1997; what the establishment was; where they were based; and how many were uniformed. [119280]

Derek Twigg: From 1997 to 31 March 2003, three full-time, professionally qualified, mental health social workers, plus two full-time social work assistants and one specialist administrator, were established and employed at the Duchess of Kent psychiatric hospital (DKPH) at Catterick Garrison. Follow-up support was provided for one year by the two social work assistants.

With the closure of DKPH on 31 March 2003, and the transfer of inpatient mental healthcare to the Priory Group, the two social work assistant posts and the specialist administrator post were disbanded. One mental health senior social worker (MHSSW) remained in Catterick, to cover the North of England; one was posted to RAF Leuchers to cover Scotland and Northern Ireland; and a third was posted to Tidworth Garrison to cover the rest of England. Army Primary Health took over responsibility and funding for these three posts.

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During the financial year 2004-05 each of the three services agreed to fund the establishment of one further mental health social worker post, bringing the total to six, based at RAF Leuchers (Scotland and NI); Catterick (Northern England); RAF Cranwell (Midlands and Wales); Colchester (London and the East of England); Tidworth, South and Middle England); and Portsmouth, South West.

For 2005-06-07 the establishment and staff in post have remained the same, except that, due to staff long term sickness, the RAF have funded a locum post at RAF Brize Norton from September 2006 to April 2007.

It should be noted that the requirement and provision for mental health social workers is kept under constant review. None of these staff are or have been uniformed.

Military Aircraft: Helicopters

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many of each type of helicopter there were in the (a) Army, (b) Navy and (c) Royal Air Force in (i) 1997 and (ii) 2007. [119244]

Mr. Ingram: The number of helicopters in the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Forces, broken down by type, as at 1 April 1997 and 31 January 2007 are shown as follows:

Army 1997 2007

Apache AH



Lynx Mk 7 & 9



Gazelle AH 1






Royal Navy 1997 2007

Lynx Mk 3 and 8



Sea King Mk 2



Sea King Mk 4/6



Sea King Mk 5



Sea King Mk 6



Sea King Mk6C



Sea King Mk 7



Gazelle HT 2



Merlin Mk 1



Royal Air Force 1997 2007

Chinook 2/2a



Merlin Mk 3






Sea King 3/3 A



Gazelle HT 3






In compiling these figures it has come to attention that my answer of 4 September 2006, Official Report, column 1699W, to the hon. Member for Woodspring (Dr. Fox) contained incorrect details. The following table is reproduced with the correct figures:

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Army Air Corps Royal Navy Royal Air Force Total














































MOD Police: Colchester

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what effect on costs he expects from reducing the establishment of Ministry of Defence police in Colchester. [110635]

Derek Twigg [holding answer 23 January 2007]: The ultimate size, and the costs, of the Ministry of Defence Police (MDP) complement at Colchester has not yet been established.

Once the reviews have been completed I will write to the hon. Member informing him of their outcome.

Parliamentary Questions

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many written parliamentary questions to his Department in the 2005-06 session were not answered (a) wholly or (b) in part on grounds of disproportionate cost; [112960]

(2) how many written parliamentary questions to his Department in the 2005-06 session were answered with a reply that it had not been possible to reply before prorogation, or similar wording; [112961]

(3) how many written parliamentary questions to his Department in the 2005-06 session did not receive an answer. [113586]

Derek Twigg: Information about the number of written parliamentary questions not answered wholly or in part on grounds of disproportionate cost is not held in the format requested. However, it is a matter of public record and can be found in the Official Report.

The number of parliamentary questions that received the answer that it had not been possible to reply before prorogation was 13. According to our records 49 parliamentary questions did not receive a reply in the 2005-06 Session.

Private Boarding Schools

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much is allocated for education grants for private boarding schools for the children of officers in the British Army; and how many children received such funding in each of the last three years. [111359]

Derek Twigg: The only year for which we have information separated into officers and other ranks is 2005-06. As at spring term 2005, 4,280 children from
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Army families were in receipt of continuity education allowance. 2,675 were from Army officers' families and 1,605 from the families of Army non-commissioned officers. The same information for previous years could be provided only at a disproportionate cost due to ongoing work being undertaken to transition all three services from the legacy administration system to the joint personnel administration.

Reserves Mental Health Programme

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the Answer of 14 December 2006, Official Report, columns 1257-8W, on the Reserves Mental Health Programme, if he will place in the Library copies of the guidance and emails sent to GPs. [115861]

Derek Twigg: The guidance is available at

The emails sent to GPs, referred to in my previous reply, were sent on a standard distribution by the Department of Health and provided links to the above website. The Department of Health had articles on the Reserve Mental Health programme in the GP and Practice Team Bulletin (Issue 58—December 2006 - January 2007) and the Chief Medical Officer Update (Issue 46—Winter 2006).

Selly Oak Hospital

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on what date the military-managed ward at Selly Oak hospital reached initial operating capability; on what date he estimates that it will reach full operating capability; and if he will make a statement. [119081]

Derek Twigg: The Military Managed Ward (MMW) at Selly Oak reached Initial Operating Capability just before Christmas 2006. It provides clinical care by a combined team of military and civilian personnel for military patients whose clinical condition allows for them to be nursed in this ward. There are military managers involved at every level on the MMW, with a Military Ward Manager responsible for all aspects of the military presence on the ward, whether staff, or patient issues, and for liaising with appropriate authorities. The MMW Ward Manager is assisted by three Military Deputy Ward Managers who are responsible for the planning and delivery of patient care.

An enhanced military nursing structure is in place for this ward comprising military nurses and military health care assistants. Military nursing staff are on duty on every shift on the ward. In addition patients have the support of the Defence Welfare Service and military liaison officers based at the hospital.

Full operating capability for the MMW is planned to be declared by this summer, subject to successful completion of building works within Ward S4.

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House of Commons Commission

Catering Services: House of Commons

Norman Baker: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission what the policy of the Refreshment Department is on the sourcing of (a) seasonal and (b) local produce; and what measures are taken to encourage the development of menus based around such produce. [120955]

Nick Harvey: The Refreshment Department recognises the economic, environmental and social advantages of sourcing (a) seasonal and (b) local produce as part of its responsible purchasing agenda, but must achieve this within the constraints of the European public procurement regulations, which prevent local positive discrimination between EU members.

The Department is working closely with its suppliers to increase the awareness of chefs and other food buyers of the seasonality and availability of produce, and the recently appointed executive chef has commenced a programme of reviewing all menus to increase the use of local and seasonal produce. In the absence of a legal definition of "local produce", this is taken by the Refreshment Department to apply to all UK produce. On this basis, almost 100 per cent. of fresh meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy produce is locally sourced, and an estimated 25-30 per cent. of fruit and vegetables when in season.

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