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Factsheet

Operations in Iraq: British Casualties

Iraq Casualty and Fatality Statistics

Operations in Iraq

The Ministry of Defence has published the following casualty figures for Operation TELIC:

For the period from 1 January 2003 to 31 December 2005:

Centrally available records show that:

  • 33 UK military personnel were categorised as Very Seriously Injured from all causes excluding disease.
  • 78 UK military personnel were categorised as Seriously Injured from all causes excluding disease.

Work continues to verify and validate data for aeromedical evacuations and field hospital admissions in both Iraq and Afghanistan prior to January 2006. Once this data is compiled it will be added to the website.

For the period from 1 January 2006 to 31 July 2009:

Centrally available records show that:

  • 315 UK military and civilian personnel were admitted to UK Field Hospitals and categorised as Wounded in Action.
  • 3,283 UK military and civilian personnel were admitted to UK Field Hospitals for Disease or Non Battle Injuries.
  • 40 UK personnel were categorised as Very Seriously Injured from all causes excluding disease.
  • 71 UK military and civilian personnel were categorised as Seriously Injured from all causes excluding disease.
  • 1,971 aeromedical evacuations have taken place for UK military and civilian personnel injured or ill in Iraq.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is NOTICAS reporting?

Notification of Casualty (NOTICAS) is the name for the formalised system of reporting casualties within the UK Armed Services. It sets in train the MOD's next-of-kin informing procedure. NOTICAS is taken extremely seriously – as the MOD's Joint Casualty & Compassionate Policy & Procedures set out, NOTICAS reports are to be raised for every casualty and the reporting process "must be undertaken as quickly and sensitively as possible and it takes precedence over all but the most urgent operational and security matters".

What do 'Seriously Injured' and 'Very Seriously Injured' mean?

The NOTICAS reports raised for casualties contain information on how seriously medical staff in theatre judge their condition to be. This information is used to inform what the next of kin are told. VSI and SI are the two most serious categories into which personnel can be classified:

  • 'Very Seriously Ill/Injured/Wounded' or VSI – The illness or injury is of such severity that life or reason is imminently endangered.
  • 'Seriously Ill/Injured/Wounded' or SI – The patient's condition is of such severity that there is cause for immediate concern, but there is no imminent danger to life or reason.

The VSI and SI categories are defined by Joint Casualty & Compassionate Policy & Procedures. They are not strictly medical categories but are designed to give an indication of the severity of the illness to inform what the individuals next of kin are told. In the figures above we have excluded those individuals categorised as VSI or SI whose condition was identified to be caused by illness, to produce figures for the number of UK personnel categorised as Very Seriously Injured and Seriously Injured whatever the cause of the injury, but excluding illnesses.

What about less serious injuries?

Minor injuries were not consistently reported to the UK during the early stages of Op TELIC due to the tempo of operations. Additional theatre reporting requirements took effect on 11 April 2005, at the same time as the activation of the Joint Casualty and Compassionate Cell at RAF Innsworth. However, there is still variability in the nature of these reports, and so we cannot produce a fully reliable and consistent set of figures.

What do the 'medical evacuation' figures mean?

These figures give the total number of aeromedical evacuations, including any aeromed movements connected to the casualty's treatment outside of Iraq.

Why is this figure higher than the others?

This is not just troops wounded in action. Personnel can be medically evacuated ("medevaced") from theatre for a variety of reasons, such as heat stroke and road accidents. The majority of aeromeds have been as a result of illness rather than injury.

What is the difference between Killed in Action and Died of Wounds?

Killed in Action is the definition used where a battle casualty is killed outright or dies as a result of wounds or other injuries before reaching a medical treatment facility. Died of Wounds is the definition used where a battle casualty dies of wounds or other injuries received in action, after having reached a medical treatment facility.

What medical facilities are available for the 150 troops that remain in Iraq?

Role 1 medical care for UK personnel based at Umm Qasr is provided by a RN Petty Officer Medical Assistant supported by a US medic, whilst at sea, each ship has integral Role 1 medical support within its scheme of compliment.

For the small number of UK Servicemen working at the NATO Training Mission in Iraq (NTMI) (Fwd) at AR Rustamiyah, Role 1 medical care is provided by a NATO enabled contract as part of the Private Military Security Company (PMSC) which provides the force protection there.

At the British Embassy in Baghdad, where the UK Defence Section is based, Role 1 medical care is provided by contract nurses. All other UK servicemen working in or around Baghdad receive Role 1 medical care from the US military under the Acquisition of Core Services Agreement (ACSA) between the two countries.

All medical care above Role 1, eg, hospital care, for all locations including aero-medical evacuation, is provided by the US military under the ACSA.

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