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Armed Forces: Health Services

Volume 496: debated on Thursday 16 July 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on how many occasions officials of his Department have met Scottish Executive health officials in each year since 2007; and at how many such meetings (a) the care of soldiers and veterans and (b) the sharing of best practice between the Defence Medical Services and NHS Scotland have been discussed. (282937)

The main forum for discussions between the Ministry of Defence and Scottish Executive health officials is the MOD/UK Health Departments Partnership Board, at which a range of issues of mutual interest are discussed. The board meets three times a year, with a core remit to ensure that the MOD and UK Health Departments share best practice and work together to improve the health and healthcare of the UK armed forces, plus dependents and veterans, and such issues form the basis of its discussions. The Senior Medical Officer at the Scottish Executive is a standing member of the board and attends, or is represented at, its meetings.

In addition, there are three official level working groups that take forward specific works strands identified by the Partnership Board, and which meet on average four times a year. Scottish Executive officials are members of each of these Working groups, and attend meetings either in person or by video link.

Finally, numerous other official level discussions, both formal and informal, take place as required at both national and local level, to address the health needs of service personnel and their dependants across the entire patient care pathway.