Thursday, November 25, 2004

Gulf syndrome is beyond doubt, inquiry finds

The Government should "publicly acknowledge" that 6,000 British veterans are suffering from Gulf war syndrome and set up a fund to compensate them, an independent inquiry concluded yesterday.

The inquiry, chaired by Lord Lloyd of Berwick, a former law lord, said it was "beyond reasonable doubt" that Gulf war veterans were likely to develop illnesses over and above those they might expect if they had not gone to war.

The Government had originally indicated that it would accept that the illnesses affecting the veterans resulted from service in the Gulf if proper medical studies showed there to be an increased risk among Gulf veterans, the inquiry said.

There had now been three authoritative UK studies into Gulf war syndrome, two funded by the MoD and one by the US government, all of which concluded that troops who went to war were twice as likely to become ill as those who did not.

"The Government ought now, in fairness, and not before time, to accept that the illnesses were caused by their deployment," the inquiry said.

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