Gulf War medic wants illnesses recognised

Former RAF Wing Commander Nick Senior who served as a dentist in the Gulf War - now living in Hampton EMN-160119-170556009
Former RAF Wing Commander Nick Senior who served as a dentist in the Gulf War - now living in Hampton EMN-160119-170556009
0
Have your say

A Gulf War veteran from Peterborough believes illnesses he is suffering are due to the government giving him untested vaccinations at the start of the conflict.

Speaking 25 years on from the start of the war, after Iraq invaded neighbouring Kuwait, Wing Commander Nick Senior is one of thousands of people to claim he has Gulf War Syndrome with symptoms including nerve damage, memory loss, shortness of breath and chronic fatigue.

Former RAF Wing Commander Nick Senior who served as a dentist in the Gulf War - now living in Hampton EMN-160119-170621009

Former RAF Wing Commander Nick Senior who served as a dentist in the Gulf War - now living in Hampton EMN-160119-170621009

Wg Cdr Senior (57) was part of the medical team on the border of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait which looked after the wounded before they could be transferred to a main hospital.

And having been medically discharged in 2011 Wg Cdr Senior, of Eagle Way, Hampton Vale, has also had two heart attacks and is seeing an endocrinologist because his hormone levels have been affected.

He said: “I would like the government to come clean and say they recognise the syndrome and that it came from authorising unlicensed vaccines and us being subjected to tablets for chemicals.

“And say they covered it up for 25 years. The Americans came clean about it in the last 10 years and have discovered loads.”

Wg Cdr Senior, who is now doing a masters on Gulf War Syndrome at De Montford University in Leicester, spent over 25 years with the RAF, including four years at RAF Wittering, having worked as a dentist.

But, despite the support of the National Gulf Veterans and Families Association he is now having to battle numerous illnesses. He added: “Any one of these would not be a massive issue, but having all of them at the same time is.

“On my worst day I would simply be unable to get out of bed because of the fatigue.

“The main difficulty I find is getting treatment for it. I would like proper training and awareness for NHS staff and the syndrome to be a claimable entity for a war pension.”

Describing his experiences of the war, Wg Cdr Senior said: “It was difficult mainly because my wife and I had three young kids, and the fear of the unknown. There were some experiences I was not prepared for like casualty handling.”

Following a 2005 Pensions Appeal Tribunal, the Ministry of Defence welcomed a verdict that the syndrome is a “useful umbrella term” to cover accepted conditions causally linked to the war, but is not a recognised disease.

And it said a research programme into the possible health effects of the vaccines and tablets used in the conflict gave overwhelming evidence that they would not have had adverse health effects.

A spokesperson said: “We are indebted to all those who served our country in the 1990/1991 Gulf conflict. In recognition of this financial support is available to veterans and dependants, where an illness or death is due to service, through the War Pensions Scheme and Armed Forces occupational pensions schemes.

“We are clear that veterans should receive fair treatment following service and we are absolutely committed to supporting them and the wider Armed Forces community.”