Times Online November 01, 2005 MoD facing 2,000 Gulf War Syndrome payouts BY Simon Freeman The Ministry of Defence was today facing the prospect of paying pensions to 2,000 former soldiers after a court ruling which, for the first time, recognised Gulf War Syndrome as a legitimate illness. In a test case, former Trooper Daniel Martin, 35, of the Life Guards, yesterday forced the MoD to accept Gulf War Syndrome (GWS) as an acceptable umbrella term for a host of post-conflict ailments. The decision, given in a judgement by the Pensions Appeal Tribunal, could open the way for around 2,000 former soldiers to lodge similar claims for war pensions. Until now the disparate array of symptoms - depression, joint pain, asthma, memory loss and chronic fatigue - have not been recognised as a single condition. Financial support has been given instead on the basis of these individual symptoms. The MoD today insisted today that the ruling did not define GWS as a "discrete pathological entity" - that is, as an illness in its own right - but said that it was considering the findings. "It is important that we are responsible and examine the ruling very thoroughly because of the implications it may have," said a spokeswoman. Lord Morris of Manchester said that the ruling marked a turning point in a campaign he has led since 1991 for proper recognition for the veterans. The Labour peer said: "This landmark judgment will hearten the thousands of Gulf War veterans now in broken health, who still have undiagnosed illnesses. "Their persistence in calling for a total review of MoD policy towards Gulf War illnesses is fully vindicated. "There must now be no more bureaucratic wriggling or delay of any kind in granting just treatment for the veterans and bereaved families alike." The National Gulf Veterans and Families Association says of the 7,500 veterans who have made a claim for a disablement pension, 1,500 have claimed GWS, and only two cases have so far been heard. Mr Martin, who is suffering from asthma, anxiety and memory loss, said he was relieved at the ruling: "I am quite pleased, and I feel vindicated and very pleased for the good it might do to other servicemen."I made my first application in 2001, so it will be five years in January. I don’t know what to feel, really. It has been awful."I have had to see so many doctors and been knocked down so many times by the MoD and Veterans Agency, I feel pleased now that a court of law looked at all the evidence and came up with the conclusion I have known all along." The veterans have blamed the illnesses on the cocktail of vaccines that they were given for protection against chemical and biological warfare in the Gulf in 1991. They also suspected that the organophosphate pesticides used to spray their tents to kill desert bugs may have contributed. The tribunal was critical of the MoD's previous refusal to accept the existence of the syndrome. The panel, which included a consultant psychiatrist and physician, said: "Fourteen years after the end of the Gulf War, the Veterans Agency (part of the MoD) has conceded the validity of the label GWS."In that time many applications for such a condition were rejected, there have been numerous and expensive court cases and there are at present a number of ex-servicemen awaiting the result of this hearing. "It is not for this tribunal to ascertain why such a late concession was made, but the kindest comment that can be made is that the lateness of this concession was unfortunate."