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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 2 February 2007, Official Report, column 963W, on urgent operational requirements, how many urgent statements of user
requirement were (a) raised, (b) endorsed, (c) not endorsed and (d) progressed as an urgent operational requirement in (i) Iraq and (ii) Afghanistan in each of the last four years; what records are kept of urgent statements of user requirement, and by whom; how many urgent statements of user requirement were (A) proposed and (B) raised and subsequently withdrawn in theatre of operations in each of the last four years; and whether withdrawn statements are recorded. 
Mr. Ingram: It is not possible to give a comprehensive number of the total urgent statements of user requirement (USURs) raised or rejected as this is not recorded centrally. Suggestions are regularly put forward by troops on the ground and progressed up the chain of command, some of which will be progressed as USURs, but many can be met with equipment already available so there is no requirement to progress further. Those which do not progress beyond initial discussions and staffing are not routinely recorded.
It is rare that a USUR be rejected once it leaves theatre, as the level of staffing will normally have ironed out any issues before it is forwarded. There are occasions when staff at the Permanent Joint Headquarters (PJHQ) will return a USUR for further work prior to its approval, but this does not amount to a rejection, as in most cases it will subsequently be accepted.
Information on the number of USURs endorsed by the chain of command for Afghanistan is only held centrally from 2005-06. Information for both theatres for 2006-07 includes USURs endorsed up to 5 March 2007. The following table gives figures for the number of USURs endorsed by PJHQ, the last stage of approval in the chain of command prior to them being issued an urgent operational requirement (UOR) number and becoming a UOR. The figures therefore equate to the number progressed as UORs.
|Financial year||Number of USURs endorsed by the chain of command for Iraq to nearest 10||Number of USURs endorsed by the chain of command for Afghanistan to nearest 10|
In the land environment, if the requirement is for a new item of equipment or for more equipment, where insufficient stocks are held on the inventory for the current operations, the request is forwarded to the Divisional Equipment Capability (EC) Cell for further staffing. The Divisional EC Cell constructs an USUR in consultation with the originator to ensure that the exact requirement is captured and submits it to the Permanent Joint Headquarters (PJHQ). Records of the USURs are held in the EC Cells in the appropriate theatre.
Royal Navy and Royal Air Force requirements are staffed up the appropriate chain of command, with
USURs then submitted to PJHQ in a similar way. If PJHQ endorses the requirement, the USUR is passed to MOD Centre for action. Records of endorsed USURs are held in PJHQ and MOD Centre.
(2) how many complaints he has received from (a) serving soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan and (b) their families on (i) access to food, (ii) army issue footwear, (iii) supply of appropriate clothing and (iv) longer separated service allowance payments; and what discussions he has had with commanding officers in Iraq and Afghanistan on those issues. 
Derek Twigg [holding answers 21 March 2007]: Specific information relating to the number of complaints raised on availability of food, army issue of footwear, supply of appropriate equipment and longer separated service allowance payment, through the means available to personnel or their families is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
If, however, the user of a particular piece of clothing formally raises an issue because they believe that it has a defect then a formal defect report will be logged. Since the start of operations, there have been four defect reports for boots and one for a waistcoat for Operation Telic in Iraq. In addition, there have been three defect reports for body armour covers and one for a sleeping bag for Operation Herrick in Afghanistan. All defect reports were resolved.
Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many servicemen injured whilst serving in (a) Iraq and (b) Afghanistan who contracted MRSA whilst receiving treatment for their injuries in UK civilian hospitals have subsequently had limbs amputated as a result of the infection; and if he will make a statement. 
(2) how many servicemen injured in (a) Iraq and (b) Afghanistan have contracted (i) a viral infection and (ii) MRSA whilst receiving treatment for their injuries in UK (A) civilian and (B) military hospitals; and if he will make a statement. 
(3) how many servicemen injured serving in (a) Iraq and (b) Afghanistan who contracted viral infections whilst receiving treatment for their injuries in UK civilian hospitals have subsequently had limbs amputated as a result of the infection; and if he will make a statement.
If an injury sustained in theatre warrants the immediate removal of a limb, the operation will be conducted under field conditions. Service personnel injured while on operation in Iraq or Afghanistan who require further medical treatment are usually aero-medically evacuated to Selly Oak hospital in Birmingham. Once evacuated to the UK, the patient will undergo detailed assessment by the hospital clinical team and further medical treatment, if required, will be carried out. We are aware of no cases of service personnel contracting an infection while in
theatre, in transit, or as a military patient being treated in Birmingham that has subsequently led to a limb amputation.
University Hospital Birmingham (UHB) has robust procedures in place to minimise the risk of infection and counter its effects in both its civilian and military patients. UHB does collect overall infection rates, and in total for all patients, it has had 93 MRSA bacteraemia reports across the Queen Elizabeth and Selly Oak hospital sites from April 2006 to the end of February 2007. This equates to 0.09 per cent. of the around 100,000 (mostly civilian) in-patients and day cases treated in this time period and only 0.02 per cent. of the total 500,000 of all patients treated in this period. UHBs MRSA bacteraemia reports have reduced by 32 per cent. in the last two years.
Neither the UHB nor the Ministry of Defence holds a separate database or a record of military patients who have reported MRSA or other viral infections. Therefore, the precise number of military patients diagnosed with MRSA or viral infections in NHS hospitals is not available centrally. This information could be obtained only by searching through individual medical records with that persons permission, and this could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Joan Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the extent of militia infiltration of the Iraqi police service; what assessment he has made of the risk this poses to UK troops on joint patrols; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ingram: The majority of Iraqi police are doing a very difficult job effectively and their capacity to maintain public order, investigate crimes and arrest suspects continues to grow. We and the Iraqis accept, however, that corruption and criminality in the police force remain a problem. Work continues with the Iraqi authorities to remove corrupt and inefficient officers and to ensure that such issues are addressed in the training that we provide, particularly on leadership. Ultimately, reform of policing must be Iraqi-led.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which units will be operating outside harmony guidelines as a result of the deployment to Iraq of Telic 10; and what the average tour gap number is for each unit. 
Harmony guidelines allow Army units 24 months between six-monthly operational tours.
Details of those Army units that will be operating outside these guidelines, when deploying on TELIC 10, are as follows:
Royal Air Force units operate differently to those of the Army. The RAF reports against harmony guidelines for formed unit tour intervals and against individual separated service guidelines for personnel. For RAF formed units the harmony guidelines state there should be 16 months between each four-month operational tour. RAF personnel rotate through the unit rather than remain with it throughout, therefore unit and personnel tour intervals are not necessarily the same. The following table illustrates the RAF formed units that will be operating outside harmony guidelines when deploying on TELIC 10:
Mr. Ingram: The net additional cost of operations in Iraq in 2005-06 was £957.6 million, compared to a projected total cost of £1,002 million for 2006-07 set out in the Spring Supplementary Estimate published on 20 February 2007: an increase of £44.4 million. This is mainly due to higher capital expenditure on urgent operational requirements and the introduction of the operational allowance for personnel serving in Iraq during 2006-07.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) whether his Department plans to include in its estimates memorandum its planning assumptions for the cost of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan; 
Mr. Ingram: Provision for the costs of operations is not included in the main estimate 2007-08. Ministers have made clear to Parliament that the costs of operations are difficult to forecast in fast moving operational circumstances. The Department needs to ensure that the figures presented to Parliament are taut and realistic, and for this reason, the first request for resources for conflict prevention is made at supplementary estimates.
Mrs. Iris Robinson:
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many members of the Territorial Army (a) received commendations and (b) were decorated
for their bravery in action in (i) Iraq and (ii) Afghanistan in each of the last five years. 
Derek Twigg: Details of the number of Territorial Army personnel receiving commendations and decorations for bravery (Gallantry Awards) in Iraq and Afghanistan in each of the last five years are shown as follows:
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