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Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his answer of 13 June 2006, Official Report, column 1232W, on Dartmoor national park (firing ranges), when he will write to the hon. Member for Totnes. 
Mr. Alan Reid: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which defence establishments have been closed during the last three years; and how much financial assistance his Department provided in the surrounding area after the closure to support (a) economic development, (b) training, (c) environmental improvements and (d) other purposes in each case. 
Mr. Watson: [holding answer 20 July 2006]: The Department has disposed of a large number of sites over the past three years. I will write to the right hon. Member with the answer and place a copy in the Library of the House.
It is not the policy of the Ministry of Defence to provide financial assistance for areas affected by the closure of Defence establishments. Other Departments have responsibility for providing direct financial support for economic development regionally or to communities. However, the Department does work closely with the local authority and other stakeholders, amongst others English Partnerships, regional development agencies, and in Scotland the Scottish Executive, the enterprise bodies and the Welsh Assembly in Wales to consider the most appropriate future use when disposing of surplus sites.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the effect on his Departments budget of the additional monies which have been allocated to (a) EDS and (b) others for the defence information infrastructure project; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Watson: A range of changes to the defence information infrastructure (future) programme have taken place since contract award for increment 1 to the Atlas consortium in March 2005, as allowed for under the provisions of the contract. These changes are not expected to have any effect on the defence budget.
Des Browne: The merger of the Defence Logistics Organisation and the Defence Procurement Agency will be subject to further detailed work over the coming months. However, it is not expected that the merger itself will involve significant additional costs beyond those arising from the proposal to collocate elements of the two organisations.
Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he has sufficient (a) regular and (b) reserve medical officers to support current operations; what shortages of defence medical service health care professionals there are, broken down by speciality; and if he will make a statement. 
|Medical Officer||Dental Officer|
| Note: Figures above 100 have been rounded to the nearest 10. Source: DMSD|
To date the Defence Medical Services (DMS) have met all operational requirements placed on them. Medical support to deployed operations is absolutely vital and there is no question of British forces deploying on military operations without the appropriate medical support.
It is important to note that the overall DMS manning requirement covers a much broader spectrum than just medical support to operations, since it includes all the personnel involved in the delivery of medical services to the non-deployed armed forces as well.
DMS manning requirement figures were initially drawn up as a consequence of the strategic defence review (SDR). These remain the official, formally endorsed figures. Since then, however, overall defence planning assumptions have changed and DMS manning requirement figures have evolved. In order to support the defence planning assumptions contained within defence strategic guidance 03, the defence medical capability (DMC) phase 2 study was carried out. The DMC study has produced interim revised DMS manning requirement figures which more accurately reflect defence planning assumptions and have thus overtaken the SDR figures. Elements of these interim manning requirements have previously been released, prior to a new definitive set of figures (as set out in my predecessor's answer to the hon. Member for Forest of Dean (Mr. Harper) on 9 February 2006, Official Report, column 1402W.
Work is ongoing to establish the overall requirement, with the overall requirement expected to decrease, although increases are expected within some individual specialties. I anticipate that new endorsed DMS manning requirement figures will be available later this year.
It is acknowledged that currently there are manpower shortages across the DMS, especially in some key specialties. The following tables show the manning levels as at April 2006 in the key shortage specialties for Medical Officers and Nurses (requirement figures shown are the SDK figures and the DMC figures):
|Medical Officer Specialty||SDR||DMC||Current manning|
| Notes: Figures above 100 have been rounded to the nearest 10. Figures include some specialists working out of speciality in headquarter posts. Source: DMSD|
|Nursing Specialty||SDR||DMC||Current manning|
| Notes: Figures above 100 have been rounded to the nearest 10. Figures include some specialists working out of specialty in headquarter posts. Source: DMSD|
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 12 July 2006, Official Report, column 1879W, on Defence Medical Services, if he will make a statement on the Ministry of Defence hospital unit concept to which he refers. 
Mr. Watson: The process to close military hospitals began in 1994 because they no longer had sufficient patient volume and case mix to develop and maintain the skills of our medical personnel. To meet this training need we have established Ministry of Defence hospital units (MDHUs) located within NHS hospitals at Derriford, Frimley Park, Peterborough, Portsmouth and Northallerton, and the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine within the University Hospital Birmingham Foundation Trust (UHBFT) in Birmingham.
The integration throughout the NHS trusts of service personnel in those specialisms which are required on deployed operations enables Defence Medical Services staff to take advantage of NHS expertise and to maintain their own clinical skills in an active, up-to-date environment. Additionally, treating Service patients within the NHS trusts which host MDHUs provides the most effective means of giving the UK armed forces benefit from the latest advances in medical treatment and the recent investments in NHS facilities.
In the last two years, enhanced command and control structures have been introduced. Each MDHU now has a dedicated command team. This has improved administrative, business and training functionality and enables clinical staff to concentrate on honing their professional skills, both medical and military. Although service staff work in a NHS environment, military ethos is maintained through regular collective events. Military uniform is worn by all command and serving administrative staff and also by clinical staff, except where duties require specific clinical dress. Clinical staff have their working time apportioned between Trust Protected Time and Military Protected Time. The former guarantees sufficient clinical exposure to maintain standards, while the latter ensures that service operational and training requirements are met.
Mr. Watson: Reported cases of suspected fraud, theft and irregularity are currently recorded centrally on a summary basis only and it cannot be assumed that criminal proceedings have or will be applied in every case. The provision of information on prosecutions and convictions for fraud involving MOD Crown servants over the period specified could thus be provided only at disproportionate cost.
|Operation||Number of personnel deployed|
|(1 )fewer than five. Note: Figures have been rounded to the nearest five.|
OP TELIC: Iraq, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait and USA, plus personnel deployed on ships in the Gulf region.
OP HERRICK: Afghanistan
OP OCULUS: Bosnia and Kosovo
OP TOSCA: Cyprus
OP BARONET: Georgia
OP PERCIVAL: Democratic Republic of Congo
OP SEQUESTER: Liberia
OP DALMIN: Sudan
OP MOTTO: Sierra Leone
Data are based on personnel reports collated manually from operational deployments, and may not include all current operations. Figures include UK regular forces, reserve forces and MOD civilian personnel.
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