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31 Oct 2002 : Column 892Wcontinued
Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) nurses, (b) GPs, (c) medical consultants and (d) other health care professionals working for the NHS are subject to military call-up as reservists in the event of military action. 
Dr. Moonie: Although the Ministry of Defence encourages reservists to declare their reserve status to civilian employers, there is no legal requirement to do so unless specified in individual contracts of employment. Reservists are not usually required to provide details of any civilian employment to the Ministry of Defence, until such time as they are called-out. Therefore, no records are available for the number of nurses, GPs, medical consultants and other healthcare professionals that are working in the NHS who are subject to military call-out as reservists.
However, it is possible to provide the number of volunteer reserve nurses, GPs, consultants and other healthcare professionals in the Defence Medical Services (DMS) as at September 2002, and this is outlined in the following table:
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|Volunteer reserves in the DMS||Number|
|Other healthcare professionals||2,065|
In addition, ex-Regular personnel with a reserve or recall liability can be subject to military call-out.
Mr. Ingram : HMS Marlborough and HMS Northumberland have not been withdrawn from the Joint Maritime Course. HMS Marlborough is currently taking part in this training. HMS Northumberland was not scheduled to take part in the Course. She is undertaking safety training prior to her planned period of Operational Sea Training which begins in early November.
Dr. Moonie: It is vital that service personnel deployed on military operations receive the appropriate level of medical support. The use of reservists for operations is fully in line with the tenets of the Strategic Defence Review, namely having more capable, usable, integrated and relevant reserve forces that support their regular counterparts on operations overseas. The need to call-out reservists is kept under review as part of contingency planning. If reservists are called out, we would select the most suitably qualified individuals for mobilisation by taking into account their relevant skills, fitness and training, and their professional and domestic circumstances. The Ministry of Defence would work closely with the NHS Trusts concerned to minimise disruption as far as possible.
Dr. Moonie: The Operational and Retained Task requirement for medical specialists and the number of consultants we have in those categories, and in which specialisations, as at 1 July 2002, are set as follows:
|Operational and retained task requirement||Current manning (including command and staff appointments)||Deficit|
|Vocationally trained general practitioners||416||195||221|
|Accident and emergency||23||3||20|
|Obstetrics and gynaecology||3||0||3|
|Burns and plastic surgery||10||3||7|
|Oral and maxioolofacial surgery||10||7||3|
|Ear, nose and throat||10||3||7|
|Rheumatology and rehabilitation||7||6||1|
|Public health medicine||2||8|||
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Mr Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what arrangements have been concluded that will allow the non-EU European NATO members and other countries which are candidates for accession to the EU to contribute to EU military crisis management. 
Mr. Hoon: The EU is committed to the fullest possible involvement of the non-EU European Allies and the EU accession partners in the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP). A supplement to the Helsinki Force Catalogue has been drawn up, detailing offers of contributions made by these states with a view to their participation in EU-led operations. The Nice European Council agreed at substantial set of provisions governing consultation with these countries and arrangements for their participation in EU-led operations. As a result, they now attend regular ESDP meetings at a number of levels. In the event of a crisis, this dialogue and consultation will be intensified. In particular, it was confirmed at Nice that Xupon a decision by the Council to launch an operation, the non-EU European NATO members will participate if they so wish in the event of an operation requiring recourse to
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NATO assets and capabilities. They will, on a decision by the Council, be invited to take part in operations where the EU does not use NATO assets. Other countries who are candidates for accession to the EU may also be invited by the Council to take part in EU-led operations once the Council has decided to launch such an operation". More detailed modalities concerning non-EU European NATO members were agreed at the European Council in Brussels last weekend. Thursday 31 October 2002PQ Ref No 5558M
Dr. Moonie: Under the Data Protection Act 1998, personnel are able to request access to their service medical records by making a subject access request. For access to primary health care records, the request should be made to the appropriate Royal Navy, Army or Royal Air Force Service Records Office. For access to secondary health care records, the request may be sent to either the appropriate service records office, the hospital they were treated at, or to the Ministry of Defence Central Health Records Library.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what action has been taken to ensure that all military medical records will be accurately maintained and secured; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Moonie: Every effort is taken to ensure that service personnel medical records are accurately maintained and securely stored. All three services have routine administrative procedures in place to check that the medical records of both regular and reserve personnel are both up to date and accurate.
Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to amend the Armed Forces pension scheme to allow benefits to be paid to partners of service men and women killed on active service; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ingram [holding answer 30 October 2002]: In the light of support for change expressed in response to public consultation and to a series of focus groups across the Armed Forces, consideration is being given to introducing pension benefits for unmarried partners as part of our review of the Armed Forces pension scheme. The Ministry of Defence will be seeking to finalise approvals on the new scheme around the turn of the year. Those who decide to remain in the current pension scheme would not benefit from any change. Under a similar review of current compensation arrangements, consideration is being given to extending benefits for attributable deaths to unmarried partners as part of a new scheme.
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Navy requires to crew the submarines in service with an adequate margin of reserve to ensure full continuity of operations; and how many are available. 
On the same date, 834 officers and 3,670 ratings were required to man the Submarine Arm as a whole. The equivalent strength figures were 629 officers and 3,552 ratings. The shortfall is borne by a range of support and training functions ashore and is currently the focus of a range of recruitment and retention initiatives.
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