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Casualty Statistics

Volume 447: debated on Wednesday 14 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether servicemen and women who lost a leg in action would be counted by his Department as wounded if treated by US doctors. (73740)

[holding answer 25 May 2006]: The Ministry of Defence publishes casualty information compiled from a number of sources. One of these sources is the UK's main (Role 3) Field hospital in Shaibah in Iraq. The current figure (around 240 personnel) cited for troops wounded as a result of hostile action on Operation Telic is based on the records of those treated at the Shaibah Field hospital. This figure does not therefore include UK forces treated only at US facilities.

To present a more complete picture and to capture UK military and civilian personnel injured in Iraq and not included in the Shaibah figure for those wounded as a result of hostile action, we have published figures on Telic casualties drawn from other sources. These are the Notification of Casualty (NOTICAS) reporting and Aeromed figures.

The Aeromed figure includes all UK military and civilian personnel medically evacuated from Iraq whatever the cause and from any location in Iraq, including Baghdad, to any destination outside that country. This reporting includes all UK service personnel who have lost a leg and have been treated at US medical facilities in Iraq.

The Notification of Casualty reporting is comprehensive from January 2005 onwards, when the Joint Compassionate Casualty Centre (JCCC) was set up, and includes all UK personnel treated at US facilities for serious injuries. But during the early phases of Operation Telic the tempo of operations meant that the paperwork associated with the NOTICAS process was not always completed properly. As a result we cannot be certain that all our NOTICAS records covering this early period are complete.

We are working to cross check historic information to improve our Telic casualty reporting, including records for RFA Argus and 202 Field hospital. Once this information has been verified, I will place a copy in the House of Commons Library.