[holding answer 20 July 2006]: Queen's Regulations provide guidance to service personnel regarding contacts with Members of Parliament for example on handling inquiries from Members, visit requests and political activity. Queen's Regulations are publicly available and I have placed copies in the Library.
There are no service regulations restricting the right of service personnel as citizens to write to their Member of Parliament.
I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 13 July 2006, Official Report, column 1942W, which stated that details of armed forces personnel who have been medically discharged from the armed forces as a result of a condition that can be attributed specifically to service in Iraq or Afghanistan and whose continued medical care has therefore been transferred to the NHS, could be obtained only by a search of the individual medical records of all personnel discharged from the armed forces since the beginning of those Operations. This could be done only at disproportionate cost.
The vast majority of serving military patients in the UK requiring secondary care are treated in NHS facilities by NHS staff. I refer the hon. Member to my answer to the hon. Member for Forest of Dean (Mr. Harper) of 10 May 2006, Official Report, column 288W, which set out the number of Service personnel treated since the year 2000 at those NHS hospitals where Ministry of Defence Hospitals are hosted. It is not possible to break down these figures to show the number of patients treated for injuries sustained on particular operations. Such information is not held centrally and to obtain it would require the examination of the individual medical records of every patient. These can only be viewed for non-clinical reasons with the express consent of the individual concerned, to protect patient confidentiality. To seek permission and then to extract the information from the records could be done only at disproportionate cost.
The assessment of compensation in cases where service personnel were dismissed from the armed forces on the grounds of sexual orientation depends on the facts and circumstances of each individual case, taking into account detailed schedules of loss from the claimants and the jurisprudence of the ECHR.