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To ask Her Majesty's Government when the King Air 350 aircraft undergoing conversion will be available for operational deployment. [HL517]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the cost of the King Air 350 conversion programme; and whether it is being procured as an urgent operational requirement. [HL518]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what alternatives were considered for the requirement for which King Air 350 aircraft are being converted; and which companies were issued with requests for proposals. [HL519]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): Four King Air 350 aircraft have been procured at a cost in the region of £70 million, as an urgent operational requirement to support enduring operations this year. Although a range of aircraft were considered, only the King Air 350 met our key user requirements.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what arrangements are currently made to assist service personnel returning from active service in Iraq and Afghanistan to adjust to civilian life. [HL1256]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): The Question bridges two related areas; first, enabling personnel to adjust to life back at the home base and secondly, arrangements for resettlement to assist personnel making the transition to civilian life.
The services aim to manage in an appropriate manner the return from the rigours of active service to the very different conditions pertaining at home, acknowledging the stresses to which personnel have been subjected. The three services accord this normalisation process a high priority; although their procedures, which meet their particular needs, differ. All personnel are given a series of briefings covering a wide number of relevant issues such as driving safety, relationship expectation management and coping with stress. They are also given relevant points of contact to whom they can turn should they find themselves in need of help. Where a whole unit has been on active service, its personnel go together through a 36-48 hour decompression package in Cyprus. Bespoke arrangements are made for reservists which include interviews and specific aftercare briefs to ensure that they aware of the support available to them.
The MoD has resettlement arrangements in place for all service leavers. Those who have served six years or more are entitled to the full resettlement programme which includes; a three-day career transition workshop, use of a career consultant, -a job finding service, re-training time and a re-training grant. Those who have served between four and five years are assisted with job search using career consultants while those with less than four years service are advised during internal unit resettlement interviews. The standard of MoD's resettlement provision was praised in the National Audit Office's July 2007 report Leaving the Services.
Asked by Lord Morris of Manchester
To ask Her Majesty's Government what legal and other costs the Ministry of Defence has already incurred and is prepared to incur in contesting the claim to the High Court for compensation of British servicemen who have suffered illnesses (including cancers, skin defects and fertility problems) due to exposure to radiation from the testing of atomic and thermo-nuclear weapons on the Australian mainland, on Christmas Island and elsewhere in the South Pacific. [HL1029]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): Legal and other costs incurred up to 16 January 2009 (the latest available) were £1,599,640.43. Additional costs will be billed following the conclusion of the High Court trial on 6 February 2009. Costs thereafter will depend on the outcome of the trial.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the types and models of helicopter in the inventory of the Armed Forces and elsewhere in the Ministry of Defence; how many there are of each; and how they are allocated. [HL891]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): Details of the types and models of helicopters in the MoD departmental fleet, their numbers and role are shown in the table below:
|Aircraft type/mark||MoD Departmental Fleet (as at 31/12/2008)||Primary role||Remarks|
ie Commercially owned military registered (COMR) or commercially owned commercially operated (COCO)
To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the scheduled decommissioning dates for each of the Hunt class minesweepers currently in service. [HL1317]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): I refer my noble friend to the Answer given by the Minister of State for the Armed Forces on 3 September 2007 (Official Report, col. 1632W) in another place to the honourable Member for Woodspring (Dr Fox).
Asked by Lord Wallace of Saltaire
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the rank of the senior British officer in post at (a) RAF Menwith Hill, (b) Diego Garcia, and (c) RAF Mildenhall. [HL1543]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): The rank of the senior British officer in post at RAF Menwith Hill is a squadron leader, in the British Indian Ocean Territory (including Diego Garcia) a commander (RN), and at RAF Mildenhall a wing commander.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many places they provide in medical facilities for service personnel suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. [HL1257]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether there is a waiting list for places in medical facilities for service personnel suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. [HL1258]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): The provision of mental health services for service personnel is the responsibility of the Defence Medical Services (DMS). For personnel suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) treatment is provided on a case-by-case basis and tailored to the specific symptoms and needs of the patient. All assessments and treatments provided
23 Feb 2009 : Column WA5
Guidance issued by the surgeon general states that urgent mental health referrals are to be seen within 24 hours by a member of the local military Department of Community Mental Health (DCMH) team. Routine referrals are to be offered an appointment at a local DCMH within 20 working days. There are no indications that these timeframes are being exceeded. Under the MoD's in-patient contract there are no waiting lists for admission.
Information on the number of new attendances at DCMHs in 2007 for which an initial diagnosis of PTSD was given is contained within the UK Armed Forces Psychiatric Morbidity Report which is produced by Defence Analysis and Statistical Advice and is available to view on its website at www.dasa.mod.uk/. The report shows that in 2007, out of a total of 5,647 patients referred to a DCMH for initial assessment, 180 were assessed to be suffering from PTSD.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have conducted any research into the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder on propensity to engage in violence. [HL1259]
The Minister of State, Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (Lord Drayson): The Medical Research Council (MRC) is one of the main agencies though which the Government support medical and clinical research. The MRC is currently not funding any research directly related to post traumatic stress disorder and the propensity to engage in violence.
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