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Porton Down Volunteers
This page is for the Porton Down Volunteers. If you were a volunteer at porton down I would say NO to what Dr Lewis Moonie, Under Secretary of State for Defence announced in the house. But I will leave it up to you.

This is a letter sent to a Gulf War Veteran.

Mr Chris Baker, OBE
Head of Gulf Veterans Illnesses Unit
Main Building, Whitehall, London, SW1A 2HB
Telephone (Direct) dialling 020-72189656
(Exchange) 020-72189000
(Fax) 020-72184489

21 November 2000


Earlier today, Dr Lewis Moonie, Under Secretary of State for Defence, announced in Parliament that the Ministry of Defence is taking a number of steps designed to help those who participated as volunteers in trials at Porton Down.

I am writing to you because the policy focus for Porton Down volunteers issues will be provided by my Unit, the Gulf Veterans Illnesses Unit (GVIU). This is because our existing administrative, medical and statistical expertise is ideally suited to address similar suggestions of possible excess or unusual ill-health in the case of Porton Down volunteers. The GVIU will be resourced to take on this important new responsibility. I want to assure you there will be no detriment to the ongoing Ministry of Defence commitment to assist Gulf veterans. My staff with whom you have contact will continue to undertake their present responsibilities.

The steps Dr Moonie announced are as follows. We are:

offering Porton Down Volunteers the opportunity for a thorough medical assessment if they have concerns about their health. This will be along the lines of the Gulf Veterans Medical Assessment Programme and will use the same facilities at St Thomas Hospital, London. The date from these consultations will be analysed to explore whether patterns of ill health are associated with particular exposures.

seeking advice on an independent epidemiological study. We have approached the Medical Research Council already. Such a study may help establish whether or not former volunteers are suffering from excess ill-health as compared to a matched comparison group of service personnel who did not participate in trials at Porton Down;

creating a multi-disciplinary policy focus within the Ministry of Defence which will be responsible for addressing volunteers health concerns and liaising with other government departments. This will be the GVIU;

approaching this issue with openness and a commitment to dialogue with Porton Down Volunteers and their Representatives;

making public any information which may be of assistance to former volunteers. The current arrangements for the Porton Down Helpline will remain in being;

continuing to fully co-operate and provide assistance to the ongoing Wiltshire Police enquiry into trials at Porton Down

It is not in the interest of the Volunteers, or the Public or the Police, to let this happen. Look what as happened to the Gulf War Veterans.