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Gulf Veterans: Mortality Data

Volume 688: debated on Monday 22 January 2007

My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Mr Derek Twigg) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

As part of the Government’s continuing commitment to investigate Gulf veterans’ illness, data on the mortality of veterans of the 1990-91 Gulf conflict are published regularly. The most recent figures for the period 1 April 1991 to 31 December 2006 are published today as a national statistic on the Defence Analytical Services Agency website.

The data for Gulf veterans are compared to those of a control group known as the “era” cohort, consisting of Armed Forces personnel of a similar profile in terms of age, gender, service, regular/reservist status and rank who were in service on 1 January 1991 but were not deployed to the Gulf. As in the previous release, the era group has been adjusted for a small difference in the age profile of those aged 40 years and over, to ensure appropriate comparisons.

Key points to note in the data are as follows. There have been 814 deaths among the Gulf veterans and 827 in the age-adjusted era comparison group. The 814 deaths among Gulf veterans compare with the approximately 1,331 deaths which would have been expected in a similar-sized cohort taken from the general population of the UK with the same age and gender profile. This reflects the strong emphasis on fitness when recruiting and retaining service personnel.

These statistics continue to confirm that UK veterans of the 1990-91 Gulf conflict do not suffer an excess of the overall mortality compared with service personnel who did not deploy.

The full notice can be viewed at www.dasa.mod.uk.