§ Mrs. Renée Short
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what specific progress has been made during the last five years by his Department in establishing methods for stockpiling medical supplies in the event of a nuclear war.
§ Mr. John Patten
[pursuant to his reply, 22 April 1985, c. 353]: Medical supplies for use in emergencies have been held in central stores for a number of years. The supplies, which are maintained in good useable condition, include beds and bedding, surgical equipment and dressings. Dispersal of these supplies is considered to be necessary to deal with local peacetime emergencies as well as those arising from war, either conventional or nuclear. Some small dispersal programmes have recently been undertaken but, mainly because of the difficulty in identifying suitable local storage accomodation, alternative proposals for dispersing the supplies are being actively considered.
Pharmaceuticals present a different problem because of restricted shelf life and the resource implications of 567W holding perishable stock. Some studies of this separate issue have been undertaken and officials currently have the policy under review.