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Armed Forces: Internet

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will issue guidance on the use of military computer networks to access social networking sites. [291549]

Bill Rammell: The MOD has recently issued guidelines designed to help service and civilian personnel make full use of social networking sites while protecting their security, reputation and privacy. These guidelines apply to all use of social networking sites, whether accessed via MOD networks or otherwise, and are available at:

Armed Forces: Mental Health Services

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many troops returning from (a) Afghanistan and (b) Iraq have been treated for (i) post traumatic stress disorder and (ii) drug and alcohol dependency in each of the last five years; [289532]

(2) what support is available for (a) soldiers and (b) veterans suffering from (i) post traumatic stress disorder, (ii) drug and alcohol dependency and (c) any other mental illness; and if he will make a statement. [289533]

Mr. Kevan Jones: The MOD's Defence Analytical Services and Advice (DASA) organisation publishes statistics on new attendances to the MOD's Departments of Community Mental Health (DCMH) in the UK Armed Forces Psychiatric Morbidity reports. Quarterly and annual reports for the whole of 2007 and 2008, and quarterly reports for January to March and April to June 2009, are now available both in the Library of the House and on the DASA website at:

Equivalent verified data prior to 2007 are not available and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

MOD takes very seriously its responsibility to provide high-quality mental health care to its personnel. Diagnosis and treatment of mental health disorders in members of the armed forces are performed by trained and accredited mental health personnel. In Afghanistan, we deploy uniformed mental health nurses to provide in-theatre care and treatment for our personnel. If personnel need to leave the operational environment, then their care continues either on an out- or in-patient basis in the UK or their permanent base overseas.

In the UK, our mental health services for military personnel are configured to provide community-based mental health care, primarily through our 15 military Departments of Community Mental Health (DCMH) across the UK (plus centres overseas), which provide out-patient mental health care. The DCMH mental health teams, comprising psychiatrists, mental health nurses, clinical psychologists and mental health social workers, have particular expertise in treatments for psychological injury.

For the relatively small number of military patients who need it, in-patient care is currently provided by a group of seven NHS trusts located throughout England and Scotland, led by South Staffordshire and Shropshire NHS Foundation Trust (SSSFT) through a central MOD contract.

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The Department has issued guidance to commanders on substance misuse and all three services have robust drug and alcohol policies in place. As such early intervention by the chain of command is likely to occur for disciplinary or welfare reasons before treatment by the Defence Medical Services would become necessary.

Service personnel identified by the chain of command as being at risk of alcohol misuse receive counselling and welfare support, this can include attendance on preventative early intervention programmes designed to alert them to the harm that alcohol can cause to themselves and others. More serious cases are treated through specialist medical and psychological treatment and rehabilitation, including where appropriate as in-patients.

Drug use is seen as being incompatible with military service and as such there is a zero tolerance policy which is reinforced by Compulsory Drug Testing (CDT). In the majority of cases a positive CDT result will lead to an immediate administrative discharge. In very exceptional circumstances service personnel may be retained if their drug use is considered to be uncharacteristic and their retention would be in the interest of the service. In these cases retention is subject to the successful completion of a special programme, which is designed to re-educate and give training in cognitive behavioural therapy.

When personnel leave military service their health care becomes the responsibility of the NHS. Ex-service personnel receive good treatment from their GPs but we recognise that many health professionals have limited experience of dealing with veterans who have mental health symptoms arising from their service experience. The MOD, the four health departments and the Combat Stress charity have been working together with clinical experts and the Health and Social Care Advisory Service (HASCAS) to develop a new model of community based mental health care that will address assessment and treatment of veterans' mental health problems in the long term.

The community mental health model is NHS-led and reflects NHS best practice. Two-year pilots, tailored to local circumstances, are operating at Staffordshire and Shropshire Foundation Healthcare Trust, Camden and Islington Mental Health and Social Care Trust, Cardiff and Vale NHS Trust, Tees Esk and Wear NHS Trust, Cornwall NHS Partnership, and NHS Lothian (led by the Scottish Executive). Evaluation of the pilot areas is now under way; early results from all six are encouraging, with evidence that veterans feel able to access and use the service with confidence. Informed by the results of the evaluation the service will be rolled out across the UK. In the interim, for areas not yet involved in the pilots, veterans with operational service after 1982 who are concerned about their mental health can attend our Medical Assessment Programme based at St. Thomas' hospital, for specialist mental health assessment by a consultant psychiatrist with extensive military experience.

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps his Department is taking to ensure the provision of suitable after-care for veterans of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan in respect of post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental illnesses; and if he will make a statement. [290408]

Mr. Kevan Jones: Since 1948, it has been successive Governments' policy that the NHS should be the main
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provider of health care for veterans and for the majority of veterans their mental health needs are fully met by current NHS provisions.

The Department of Health and devolved Administrations with support from the Ministry of Defence and Combat Stress have launched six mental health pilots around the United Kingdom. The aim of the pilots is to deliver a service which provides expert assessment and interventions and which is acceptable to veterans.

The early results from all six pilots are encouraging with evidence that veterans feel able to access and use the service with confidence. Evidence suggests that the presence of the pilots is making a difference to the local veterans' communities.

Veterans who do not live near one of the regional schemes can access the Medical Assessment Programme (MAP) which is available to veterans who were deployed on operations since 1982. The MAP offers comprehensive physical and mental health assessments for veterans who feel that their ill-health may be linked to military service.

Armed Forces: Recruitment

Mrs. Riordan: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to monitor the implementation of the recruitment policy of the armed forces in respect of (a) people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds and (b) children of low-income households. [291875]

Mr. Kevan Jones: The armed forces aim to recruit the very best from all sectors of society regardless of ethnicity, religion, gender or financial standing. All three services have extensive programmes and dedicated teams to raise awareness of the armed forces in ethnic minority (EM) communities and to encourage recruitment. In partnership with the Equality and Human Rights Commission, we have set a target of 8 per cent EM representation by 2013. Our progress towards this target is continually monitored and published quarterly and can be found on the following website:

As at 1 July 2009, EM representation stood at 6.6 per cent.

There are no recruitment policies or targets set for the number of military personnel from low income households and such information is consequently not monitored.


Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library a copy of the most recent Chief of the General Staff's Briefing Team report. [289980]

Bill Rammell: A copy of the most recently published report, that for 2008, compiled by the Chief of the General Staff's Briefing Team was placed in the Library of the House in May 2009 and remains the most recent edition published. The next report is being complied for publication in 2010 and a copy will be placed in the Library of the House when formally published.

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Army: Deployment

Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many and what proportion of personnel in the Army are deployable; [289981]

(2) how many and what proportion of personnel in the Army were deployable in each year since 2001. [289982]

Bill Rammell: The Army collates deployability figures for its deployable elements only, not its total trained strength.

The following table provides the information requested on a quarterly basis since March 2007. Figures before that date are not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Date Number of personnel within deployable units Number of deployable personnel Percentage of personnel deployable

March 2007




June 2007




September 2007




December 2007




March 2008




June 2008




September 2008




December 2008




March 2009




June 2009




Personnel numbers are rounded to the nearest 10; percentages to one decimal point.

Army: Northern Ireland

Kate Hoey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make an assessment of the merits of deploying troops on the South Armagh border areas for the purpose of preventing attacks by dissident republican groups. [291651]

Bill Rammell: No. The safety and security of the people of Northern Ireland is the responsibility of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI). In a written ministerial statement released on 8 December 2008, Official Report, column 28WS, following the end of Op Banner my predecessor stated

Balkans: Peacekeeping Operations

Clare Short: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many settlements of what monetary value his Department has paid to members of the armed forces in each age group in relation to combat stress following service in Bosnia and Kosovo; how many claims for such settlements are outstanding; and if he will make a statement. [291947]

Mr. Kevan Jones: The number of claims settled and outstanding together with the amount of compensation paid including legal costs is shown as follows:

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Number settled Compensation paid (£ million) Number outstanding









The age of those service personnel at the date of settlement of their claims ranged from 32 to 46. The age of the one outstanding claimant is 44.

Defence Equipment

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will discuss with his US counterpart the development of a hyper-sonic mass technology joint capability. [291755]

Mr. Quentin Davies: The MOD's research into hyper-sonic mass technology ended in 2005 and it was determined that the technology did not offer cost effective alternatives to current capabilities. This position was reiterated in section B7 of the "Defence Technology Strategy," published October 2006 of which a copy is available in the Library of the House. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence will not be raising this issue with his US counterpart, Secretary Gates.

Defence: Procurement

Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library a copy of the report by Bernard Gray on defence procurement. [289808]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Bernard Gray's Review of Acquisition will be published once it has been finalised, following which I shall place a copy of the report in the Library of the House.

Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he plans to publish the Bernard Gray report on his Ministry's equipment programme. [291570]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The report is expected to be published in the autumn.

Departmental Advertising

Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department spent on newspaper advertising carried in each newspaper in the most recent year for which figures are available. [289513]

Mr. Kevan Jones: The Department is unable to provide this information as it is not held in the format requested. However, I refer the hon. Member to the answer the Minister for the armed forces gave on recruitment advertising on 23 February 2009, Official Report, columns 23-4W, to the hon. Member for North Devon (Nick Harvey).

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