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Gulf War Illnesses

Volume 405: debated on Tuesday 13 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on his Department's policy towards the former service personnel suffering from Gulf War illnesses, with particular reference to the War Pensions Tribunal adjudication in the case of Lance Corporal Alex Izett, RE. [112248]

[holding answer 12 May 2003]: The Ministry of Defence takes the ill health veterans of the 1990–91 Gulf conflict extremely seriously. It is addressing their concerns by providing medical help through the Gulf Veterans' Medical Assessment Programme and financial assistance through pensions and fundig scientific research. Gulf veterans who are concerned about their health should contact the MOD's Gulf Veterans' Illnesses Unit on Freephone: 0800 169 4495.We have asked the independent Medical Research Council to carry out a formal review of research to date and recommend what further work we should sponsor. This is expected to the published later this month.The Pensions Appeal Tribunal (PAT) decided in December 2002 that Mr Izett was ill as a result of the immunisations he was given. It was only necessary for him under the provisions of the war pensions scheme to raise a reasonable doubt of a causal link between ill-health and Service. The PAT accepted such a doubt had been raised and therefore allowed the appeal. Whilst we disagree with the PAT's decision, such decisions can only be challenged on a point of law. There is no point on which MOD can mount an appeal.