HC Deb 17 June 2002 vol 387 cc41-2W
Mr. Tyler

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will publish the submission of his Department to the War Pensions Appeal Tribunal in the case of Mr. Shaun Rusling, with an explanation for the change in description of his illness from Gulf War Syndrome; and if he will make a statement. [61872]

Dr. Moonie

As the papers submitted by Veterans Agency to the Pensions Appeal Tribunal contain details of personal and medical information relating to Mr. Rusling it would not he appropriate for the Ministry of Defence to publish them. I am therefore withholding them in accordance with Exemption 12 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information. Mr. Rusling was sent a copy of these papers prior to the tribunal hearing.

Decisions on war pensions are medically certified and aim to reflect case specific facts, the relevant standard or proof and contemporary medical understanding.

Mr. Rusling first claimed war disablement pension in December 1993 for post-traumatic stress disorder and "Gulf Syndrome", described as a list of non-specific symptoms. Various disorders/symptoms were certified as attributable to service with an award paid but "Gulf Syndrome" was rejected as "not found".

In December 1996 Mr. Rusling appealed against the rejection of "Gulf Syndrome". Mr. Rusling's case was governed by the relevant war pensions legislation which requires disablement to be accepted unless it can be shown "beyond reasonable doubt" that there is no service link. His case was reviewed and to reflect then emerging evidence and medical understanding of Gulf illness and the war pension standard of proof, the rejected "Gulf Syndrome" was replaced by the WHO International Classification of Diseases 10th ed. diagnostic category, Signs, Symptoms and ill-defined Conditions. This included the symptoms previously claimed under "Gulf Syndrome". Mr. Rusling's award of war disablement pension was increased accordingly. Mr. Rusling was notified of the details of the decision at that time.

Mr. Breed

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Gulf war veterans have been awarded war pensions for(a) chronic fatigue and (b) post viral fatigue syndromes. [61807]

Dr. Moonie

As at 13 June 2002, 114 war pension awards in respect of chronic fatigue syndrome and three in respect of post viral fatigue syndrome have been made to Gulf war veterans.