§ Mr. Menzies Campbell
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what factors underlie recent trends in the number of referrals to the Gulf veterans' Medical Assessment Programme. 
§ Mr. Doug Henderson
The Gulf veterans' Medical Assessment Programme (MAP) was set up by the Ministry of Defence in 1993 to provide as full a diagnosis as possible to Gulf veterans who are concerned about their health, or provide reassurance if no illness is found. It will continue for as long as it is needed.
So far during 1999, a weekly average of five new patients have been referred to the MAP. The comparable figure for 1997 is about 19 and for 1998 is 12.
The Ministry of Defence has made no assessment of the factors underlying this trend but has taken a number of steps over the last two years to highlight the MAP's existence and its purpose. Most recently, for example, the Department of Health's Chief Medical Officer's May Update highlighted the existence of an information pack to provide GPs and other health professionals with information they may find useful in dealing with Gulf veterans' health concerns. This pack includes a section on the MAP.
As of 15 June, my Department had sent 176 copies of the information pack in response to requests from doctors. The pack is also available on the Ministry of Defence's Gulf veterans' illnesses webpage (http://www.mod.uk/policy/gulfwar/index.htm) and was highlighted in the memorandum "Current Activity relating to Gulf Veterans' Illnesses" which I published in April. Copies have also been sent to various Parliamentarians and placed in the Library of the House.