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Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to commission new naval aircraft carriers; when he expects the carriers to be in service; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the Answer of 7 March 2007, Official Report, column 1979W, on animal experiments, what the qualifications are of those who will decide whether to continue the experiments involving live goats. 
Mr. Ingram: The members of the team reviewing the need for further use of goats in this research programme are yet to be formally appointed. I shall write to the hon. Gentleman to detail their qualifications as soon as the information is available.
Derek Twigg: I have placed a copy of guidance entitled The Provision of Childcare in the Library. This is taken from the Army Recruiting Group Instructions Chapter 11, Section 1, Paragraphs 50-55 and is used by the Army Recruiting Group when questions on children and family matters are raised.
Information on this issue is also provided to recruits. I have placed a copy of the RN guidance on child care for recruits taken from BR689, Section 4 Chapter 4 and a copy of the supplementary information provided by the Army to applicants who have dependants. The relevant RAF publication is undergoing review.
Derek Twigg: Candidates wishing to make an application for armed forces employment are required to complete the application form AFCO Form 4. Before completing AFCO Form 4, all potential recruits are required to read the application form information and guidance booklet, AFCO Form 5. This form provides initial guidance to applicants with dependants:
2.2 Dependants. The Armed Forces will require you to serve away from your home, at times for extended periods, and the Service you are applying for needs to be assured that your domestic arrangements will not prevent you from doing this. If you are married, and/or have children and/or family members dependant upon you then certain conditions apply. The Armed Forces Careers Adviser will provide you with the appropriate information. This includes Volunteer Reserve Service training and/or mobilisation for the Reserve Forces.
During the selection interview, recruiting staff ensure that applicants are fully aware of their service obligations. Applicants with dependant responsibilities and/or those who ask questions on any concerns raised are then given further written guidance detailing their responsibilities with regard to child care arrangements. Once applicants have confirmed they understand their obligations and have demonstrated they have considered child care and would have sufficient cover during period of absence, the selection process is allowed to continue.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent discussions his Department has had with (a) the Department for Communities and Local Government and (b) the Scottish Executive on the proposed exemption of members of the armed forces serving overseas from paying council tax; when these discussions took place; what assessment the Government have made of the cost of such a scheme; and if he will make a statement. 
Derek Twigg: I met my hon. Friend the Minister of State for Local Government on 13 March to discuss a number of options on how best to provide support for the council tax costs of service personnel deployed on operations; these options are being further explored. Officials from the Ministry of Defence and the Department for Communities and Local Government have kept the devolved Administrations informed of progress on this issue.
Derek Twigg [holding answer 29 March 2007]: An absentee is the term applied to a person subject to military law who absents himself from the place at which his duty requires him to be, without leave to do so. Service personnel are found to be culpable of absence without leave if the absence was due to the deliberate intention of the accused to be absent or if it was caused by circumstances which were within his own control.
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many soldiers were subject to a manning control review and were discharged at manning control point in each of the last five years, broken down by regiment. 
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many soldiers who were subject to a manning control review and were subsequently transferred to the S-type engagements were discharged at the end of their S-type engagements in each of the last five years, broken down by regiment; and under what Queen's Regulations they were discharged. 
|Discharged under Queens Regulations paragraph 9.393: having completed engagement|
|Discharged under Queens Regulations paragraph 9.387: permanently medically unfit|
|Discharged under Queens Regulations Paragraph 9.374: purchase to A reserve|
|(1) Due to the low numbers involved this information is not broken down further where the figure is less than five or by Regiment, because this could identify individuals and breach disclosure and confidentiality policy.|
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which facilities are currently treating service personnel who have been injured in action and have subsequently returned to the UK; and what specialisms are provided for at those facilities. 
Derek Twigg: Military personnel who sustain a serious physical injury on operations overseas are most commonly received initially at Selly Oak Hospital, part of the University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHBFT), which is a centre of excellence in the medical care of the types of injuries our people most often sustain. Here we are able to provide patients who need it with the advanced specialist clinical care required in the initial stages of their treatment.
Patients with serious orthopaedic/trauma injuries may be housed on the military-managed ward at Selly Oak, where these injuries can be treated. But those with other injuries (such as burns or neurological trauma) may be housed on other specialist wards where they can receive the first-class care they require. This may be at Selly Oak, or if appropriate another NHS facility such as the Queen Elizabeth hospital.
Patients who either do not require inpatient hospital treatment, or who require further rehabilitation care following initial treatment, may be referred to the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre (DMRC) at Headley Court in Surrey. DMRC is the principal medical rehabilitation centre run by the armed forces and contains the Complex Rehabilitation and Amputee Unit (CRAU) and a Regional Rehabilitation Unit (RRU). DMRC provides both physiotherapy and group rehabilitation for complex musculo-skeletal injuries, plus neuro-rehabilitation for brain-injured patients. The CRAU, based within DMRC, provides high quality prosthetics and adaptations, manufactured on site and individually tailored as necessary for the specific patient. Priority is given to the provision of prosthetics to enable service personnel to resume service duties.
Personnel with less serious musculo-skeletal injuries may also be referred to one of MODs 15 Regional
Rehabilitation Units (RRU) in the UK plus Germany, which provide accessible, regionally-based assessment and treatment, including physiotherapy and group rehabilitation facilities. Each RRU has a Multidisciplinary Injury Assessment Clinic (MIAC) team comprising a doctor with specialist skills in sports medicine, a physiotherapist with enhanced skills and a remedial instructor (physical education instructor trained to deliver individual and group therapy), who together provide an assessment and diagnostic service. This team have rapid access to MRI scan or other imaging if required. They then determine the most appropriate rehabilitation plan for the patient, including rapid access to orthopaedic surgery when clinically indicated.
Very occasionally the most seriously injured patients will require specialised care and treatment that can best be provided outside the NHS or MODs own facilities. One example is neurological injury, where the best specialist treatment can often be provided by organisations such as the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability at Putney, which is a national centre of expertise in its particular field.
We also provide treatment for psychological as well as physical injuries. Mental health services in the UK are delivered through a combination of community-based outpatient care and local inpatient treatment through the Priory Group of hospitals. MOD runs its own 15 Departments of Community Mental Health situated around the UK, with others based in Germany, Cyprus and Gibraltar. Their teams comprise psychiatrists, mental health nurses, clinical psychologists and mental health social workers. The full range of psychiatric and psychological treatments is available, including medication, psychological therapies and environmental adjustment where appropriate. The Defence Mental Health Services have particular expertise in psychological treatments for mental health problems in general, and psychological injury in particular, using such treatments as Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) and Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR).
Mr. Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence by what process the support of military, Government, charitable and civilian efforts to assist wounded servicemen and women is integrated. 
Derek Twigg [holding answer 19 March 2007]: The key factor in the Government's duty of care towards the members of the armed forces is ensuring they receive high quality medical care, both while deployed on operations and back in the UK. This can range from life-saving surgeryboth in our deployed field hospitals and NHS facilities in the UKto treatment of routine ailments on a daily basis.
Most primary care of military personnel is provided at unit level by members of the Defence Medical Services (DMS). For physical illness or injury, MOD has its own rehabilitation facilities, with secondary care in the form of hospital treatment in the UK provided by NHS hospital trusts. This is the most effective way of enabling military patients to benefit from the latest
advances in medical treatment and the recent major investments in NHS facilities. Casualties from overseas are referred usually to the University Hospital Birmingham Foundation Trust (UHBFT), which leads the way in the UK for the acute care of patients with complex traumatic injuries of the types suffered by our personnel on operations.
Care for the vast majority of service personnel with mental illness is provided at one of our 15 military Departments of Community Mental Health (DCMH) in the UK and equivalents overseas. This gives our patients access to high quality care, providing regional care within easy reach of unit, base or home. For those few that require inpatient mental health care a contract has been established with the Priory to provide high quality regional care. Close liaison takes place between the Priory and the DCMH. Furthermore the MOD has recently introduced the Reserves Mental Health Programme, which is improving the overall health care we offer to recently demobilised reservists. Information is available by visiting http://www.army.mod.uk/rtmc/rmhp.htm or concerned individual reservists or their GPs can contact a free phone number.
Wider support to injured personnel and their families is provided by a range of organisations, often at regimental and unit level. The main central provider of hospital welfare services is the Defence Medical Welfare Service (DMWS), which is contracted by the MOD to provide welfare support to service personnel and entitled civilians who are in hospital in the UK, Germany, Cyprus and on deployed operations. Patients are informed about other appropriate welfare agencies. These include the single service welfare services as well as service charities such as SSAFA, St. Dunstan's, Combat Stress, Royal British Legion, etc. and we are grateful for their support.
The single services operate long-term sick policies and welfare procedures for patients discharged from hospital. Each of the single services tracks its own patients and coordinates welfare support, which includes drawing on the support provided by service charitable organisations such as SSAFA and individual regimental charities. Families are assigned a visiting officer who acts as the link between the family and the services, and will also direct the family to the most appropriate internal and external welfare agencies for specific areas of support.
There is long-standing policy that the NHS, not MOD, provides care for ex-service personnel. However, the MOD funds courses of care at facilities run by the mental health charity Combat Stress, for those whose conditions are due to service and for whom this is an appropriate course. These procedures are under constant review to ensure that the support provided meets the needs of the recipients.
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