§ Lady Olga Maitland
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the creation of the Medical Supplies Agency. 
§ Mr. Soames
The defence medical supply organisation will become a defence agency of the Ministry of Defence, to be known as the Medical Supplies Agency—MSA—on 1 March 1996. The MSA will include the Army blood supply depot at Aldershot, the defence medical equipment depot at Ludgershall and 16 medical provisioning points located throughout the UK and overseas.
The MSA will remain part of the MOD, but the chief executive will have delegated executive powers to discharge his responsibilities. The agency will employ 65 military and 260 civilian staff. The location of the headquarters of the agency has yet to be confirmed, but will initially be at Ludgershall.
The aim of the agency is to ensure the most cost-effective and timely provision of medical, dental and veterinary material, blood and blood products, technical and logistic support and trained personnel to the UK armed forces in war, operations other than war, and peace.
The chief executive has been set the following key targets for the first year of operation:
- 1. To build, hold and maintain the agreed number of kits, outfits and associated items of equipment, as defined in endorsed equipment tables.
- 2. To meet 100 per cent. of operational deployment requirements to time.
- 3. To achieve efficiency savings of £4 million in the cash budget of the agency whilst maintaining a constant level of output.
- 4. By April 1997, to have a fully integrated tri-service structure in place.
- 5. To identify the minimum stock levels necessary for the agency and publish quantifiable stock reduction targets for the financial year 1997–98.
- 6. To design and implement the initial customer survey so as to establish a quantifiable baseline for measuring customer satisfaction.
- 7. To implement an accounting system to produce full-cost accruals based accounts for the financial year 1996–97 for preliminary audit by the National Audit Office.
- 8. Successful implementation of the medical material management information system and production of a statement of requirement for the procurement of systems to meet the agency's MIS needs.
I have arranged for copies of the agency's framework document to be placed in the Library of both Houses.