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Rotation of ADF medical team in Iraq.



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Media contacts Sascha Meldrum (Senator Hill) 08 8237 7920 0409 034 241

Defence Media Liaison 02 6265 3343 0408 498 664

www.defence.gov.au

MEDIA RELEASE SENATOR THE HON ROBERT HILL Minister for Defence Leader of the Government in the Senate

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Thursday, 10 March 2005 038/2005

ROTATION OF ADF MEDICAL TEAM IN IRAQ

Australia will continue to provide a specialist Defence Force medical team in Iraq until the end of June following a three-month extension to the team’s deployment, Defence Minister Robert Hill announced today.

Senator Hill said the medical team is one of the key Australian detachments working in Iraq and the extension recognises the important work they are doing in the rebuilding of Iraq.

The extension will involve a rotation of deployed ADF medical personnel, many of whom are Reservists. The medical team was originally deployed for six months and has provided valuable experience for our Defence Force.

The team of 20 medical personnel from the Navy, Army and Air Force, is made up of regular and specialist reserve personnel from around Australia and includes medical assistants, nurses, intensive care specialists and surgeons.

“Our medical personnel are highly regarded by our Coalition Partners and play an important role in providing specialist medical support to the Coalition forces and the Iraqi people,” Senator Hill said.

“The medical team is based at a Coalition air base north of Baghdad and is responsible for surgery and medical care to treat a wide range of injuries and trauma.

“The ADF medical team accounts for about 10 per cent of the hospital staff, and the team work alongside other coalition personnel providing specialist medical care in a very demanding work environment.

“Already seven members have deployed to replace members of the medical team while the remainder will be in Iraq by the end of the month.

“Australian service men and women continue to make a significant contribution to the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Iraq.”

Operation Catalyst currently comprises approximately 920 personnel and will increase to around 1370 once the new Al Muthanna Task Group deploys in late April.