§ Mr. Livingstone
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what medical and scientific personnel and resources are utilised by the War Pensions Agency when it decides whether to award a pension to former service personnel who are claiming disablement because they participated in experiments in the service volunteers programme at the Chemical and Biological Defence Establishment at Porton Down. 
§ Mr. Heald
This is a matter for Mr. Kevin Caldwell, chief executive of the War Pensions Agency. He will write to the hon. Member.
Letter from K. C. Caldwell to Mr. Ken Livingstone, dated 1 July 1996:The Secretary of State for Social Security has asked me to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about the medical and scientific personnel and resources utilised by the War Pensions Agency when it decides whether to award a pension to former service personnel who are claiming disablement because they participated in experiments in the service volunteers programme at the Chemical Defence Establishment at Porton Down.Claims to War Pensions are considered individually and according to their specific circumstance. War Pension may be awarded when it is accepted that disablement is attributable to or aggravated by service (including participation in the tests).War Pensions legislation provides that medical matters are determined by medical officers appointed or recognised for the purpose. Administrative officers acting on behalf of the Secretary of State confirm service details made in relation to the claim.War Pension doctors are fully qualified medical practitioners with wide clinical experience. On entry they undergo prolonged training on all aspects of the War Pensions Scheme, including the law, policy and medicine in relation to War Pensions. This includes discussion and information relating to particular service zones and experiences. In addition they have access to a well stocked library which contains medical, scientific, and service (including historical) information.War Pensions doctors base their adjudication on relevant medical evidence, which may include service medical details, and post service medical records. War Pensions claimants may be required to undergo a War Pensions medical examination or be seen and examined by an independent specialist accredited to an appropriate speciality. Where the medical issues are complex, or some conflicting evidence exists, the case may be referred to a Regional Consultant for examination and report or in some cases for a documentary opinion. This referral is accompanied by a full typewritten Statement of Case, containing all available relevant evidence. Regional Consultants are people of special eminence in their field of work.414WIn cases where service at the Clinical and Biological Defence Establishment is an issue, relevant information, whether service medical or scientific, is obtained from the Chief Executive of the Chemical and Biological Defence Establishment.I hope you find my reply helpful.