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Armed Forces: Health Services

Volume 495: debated on Monday 6 July 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) on how many occasions Ministers in his Department have met Scottish Executive Health Ministers to discuss the care of soldiers and veterans in each year since 1999; (282935)

(2) on how many occasions Ministers in his Department have met Scottish Executive Health Ministers to discuss the sharing of best practice between the Defence Medical Services and NHS Scotland in the last two years; and what other mechanisms are in place to ensure that best practice between those services is shared.

Details of topics discussed during meetings between Ministers are not held centrally. Both my predecessor and the Under-Secretary of State have met with Shona Robison, on 14 May 2009 and 23 April 2009 respectively to discuss a variety of issues.

The Scottish Executive is represented at official level on the MOD/UK Health Departments Partnership Board, which meets three times a year and whose remit includes exploring ways of sharing best practice between the Defence Medical Services (DMS) and the NHS in England and the devolved regions, including Scotland. At a working level, some individual members of the DMS also work in Scottish NHS medical facilities, particularly in Edinburgh, enabling clinical best practice to be shared on a day-to-day basis.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the number of veterans resident in (a) Scotland, (b) England, (c) Wales and (d) Northern Ireland with a health condition related to their service. (283008)

As at 31 March 2009, a total of 256,520 individuals in the United Kingdom were in receipt of a pension awarded under the War Pension Scheme (WPS) for a health condition related to their service. In addition, 1,145 veterans were in receipt of a compensation award under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) for a health condition related to their service and 80 individuals were in receipt under both schemes. The following table shows a breakdown by country and the scheme under which they have been awarded.

Country

Number

Individuals awarded under WPS1,2,3

Total

256,520

England

205,980

Scotland

31,700

Wales

17,315

Northern Ireland

1,085

Great Britain2

440

Veterans awarded under AFCS1,4

Total

1,145

England

1,000

Scotland

60

Wales

55

Northern Ireland

30

Individuals awarded under both schemes1,3,4

Total

80

England

70

Scotland

Wales

Northern Ireland

0

‘—’ Represents a value of fewer than 5.

1 Figures have been rounded to the nearest 5. Due to rounding, the total does not equal the sum of the parts.

2 The ‘Great Britain’ category refers to individuals that have been identified as residing within Great Britain, but due to invalid address data, cannot be allocated to a particular country.

3 Under the WPS, awards have only been included from individuals who have left the armed forces. Some individuals may have re-joined the armed forces since their awarded claim and therefore would not be classed as veterans, but have been included in the figures provided.

4 Under the AFCS, awards have been included for those who claimed post-service and those who claimed while in service and subsequently left the armed forces.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent progress has been made in the provision of accommodation for families of military patients being treated at the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine's clinical facilities at Selly Oak; and on what date he expects such accommodation to become available. (283343)

Current accommodation, most of which has been in place for some time, includes the following:

Six rooms in one wing of Selly Oak hospital (five accommodation rooms plus a quiet room) are allocated for relatives of military personnel listed as very seriously ill or seriously ill. Depending on availability, families of non-listed patients may also stay in these rooms.

Further accommodation for families available on the Selly Oak site itself includes three flats, offering in total three single, three double and three twin-bed rooms.

The League of Friends has generously provided a further flat, offering two twin bed and one double room.

The Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA) Forces Help has also generously provided a "home from home" (Norton House) close to Selly Oak hospital, offering seven bedrooms for the use of families of military patients. It was opened earlier this year.

SSAFA has also funded improvements to accommodation available on the Selly Oak site.

In our planning for the military ward to be established at the new Queen Elizabeth hospital (which will replace Selly Oak) from 2010, we are ensuring that family accommodation will continue to be provided on a similar scale.