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Defence Medical Services

Volume 408: debated on Thursday 3 July 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the status of the Defence Medical Services. [123596]

The Defence Medical Services (DMS), comprise the Royal Naval Medical Service, the Army Medical Services and the Royal Air Force Medical Service. They are a vital component of the armed forces, providing essential medical support to Service personnel both on military operations and in peacetime. During 2002–03, DMS personnel have deployed successfully on operations to Iraq, Kosovo, Bosnia, Afghanistan, Sierra Leone and Northern Ireland.We are committed to the modernisation of the DMS to meet the challenges we expect to face in the future. The provision of an effective deployable medical operational capability in support of deployed forces in Iraq demonstrated that our medical personnel are among the very best in the world. We do not underestimate the continuing challenges facing us to make good the acknowledged manning shortfalls and to equip our doctors, dentists, nurses and other medical personnel with modern medical equipment, but we are committed to doing so.