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Gulf War: Veterans

Volume 487: debated on Thursday 29 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will commission further research into the diagnosis and treatment of Gulf War veterans’ illnesses; and if he will make a statement. (251121)

The Medical Research Council (MRC) has provided independent advice on our Gulf research programme. In 2003, the Ministry of Defence asked the MRC to undertake an independent scientific review of all the UK research work that has been carried out into Gulf veterans’ illnesses in an international context and to advise on whether there are any areas appropriate for future research. The MRC’s recommendations were published on 22 May 2003 and are available at:

A key recommendation was that future research work should focus on improving the long-term health of veterans with persistent symptoms and proposals on rehabilitation therapies were sought. A contract for research into ways of rehabilitating unwell Gulf veterans was awarded to an expert group at Cardiff University last summer and work is expected to be complete by April 2012. In the event of any new research proposals being made that would add to our knowledge on Gulf health issues then the Ministry of Defence will consider funding any proposal for research which has been formally considered and approved by the MRC.