Armed Forces: Manpower

Defence written question – answered on 15th July 2008.

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Photo of Lindsay Hoyle Lindsay Hoyle Labour, Chorley

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the Answer of 3 July 2008, Official Report, column 1035W, on armed forces: manpower, if he will make it his policy to collect such information centrally and place it in the Library.

Photo of Bob Ainsworth Bob Ainsworth The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence

Medical Employment Standard (MES) codes (and supporting codes showing Medical Limitations) are used to define an individual's medical fitness and enable the communication of the necessary information to their career manager/chain of command without any breach of medical confidentiality. These codes are used to ensure that an individual is appropriately employed without unnecessarily endangering their own health or that of others. Historically, the codes have evolved along single-service lines and this presents difficulties in deriving a consistent, central view of medical employability across the services which has made it impractical to provide the information requested. Currently, the MES codes do not equate to medical 'deployability' (i.e. the fitness of an individual to deploy on operations).

A working group has been set up to define and plan a set of Joint MES codes and Medical Limitations against which all service personnel will be assessed for their deployability and employability status. This definition work is due to be complete by the end of 2008 and the changes will be implemented on relevant IT systems as soon as possible thereafter. Once in place, this system will provide centrally held information on fitness for employment and deployability. Once the system is in place we will consider the most appropriate means by which this information could be placed in the Library of the House.

It is the Department's intention to maximise the employability and deployability of all individuals at all times. This means that an individual who is unfit for frontline operational duty may still be employable within his/her service. Each case is considered and managed on its individual merits.

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