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Gulf Veterans: Mortality Comparison

Volume 621: debated on Monday 22 January 2001

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asked Her Majesty's Government:What are the latest figures for mortality rates amongst (a) Gulf veterans and (b) the comparison group. [HL437]

Peer reviewed scientific data comparing the mortality of UK Gulf veterans to an era group of service personnel who did not deploy to the Gulf were published for the first time in the Lancet on 1 July 2000. An update to these figures was provided by the Ministry of Defence to the House on 20 July 2000. The Ministry of Defence has undertaken to continue to monitor the mortality of both Gulf veterans and the era group and will publish updated figures on a regular basis. The figures as at 31 December 2000 are shown in the table.Overall, in the period 1 April 1999 to 31 December 2000 the mortality of UK Gulf veterans was only slightly greater than that of the control group. The number of Gulf veterans dying from disease-related causes is rather less than for the control group, whereas the number of Gulf veterans dying of external causes is rather higher than for the control group. The Ministry of Defence will conduct a more detailed analysis of road traffic accident, to establish whether there are any underlying trends that might help explain this excess.

Deaths to UK Gulf veterans (Note: 1) 1 April 1991–31 December 2000

Causes (coded to ICD-9) (Note: 2)

ICD Chapter

Cause of death



Mortality Rate Ratio

Accidents due to natural environmental factors221.01
Accidents due to submersion/suffocation/foreign bodies1562.53
Other accidents31261.21
Late effects of accident/injury020.00
Suicide and injury undetermined whether accidental85801.07
Injury resulting from the operations of war340.76

Other deaths for which coded cause data are not yet available



Overseas deaths for which cause data are not available




1. Service and Ex-Service personnel only.

2. World Health Organisation's International Classification of Diseases 9th revision, 1977.