Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock has told NHS staff that patients will continue to have access to medicines, medical products and high-quality care in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
In his letter to NHS staff and social care organisations (23/08/18) he stresses hospitals, GPs and community pharmacies in the UK don’t have to take any steps to stockpile additional drugs; there is no need for doctors to write longer-dated prescriptions, plus medical staff should make patients aware that they do not need to store medicines at home.
He also pointed out the government will allow drugs and devices tested elsewhere in the EU to be used in the UK – avoiding the need for any re-testing – and continue to import blood supplies from the EU.
So, whilst the message is a reassuring one and typically British (keep calm and carry on as normal), this healthcare technical notice lacks detail and proper information on lots of other important medical issues.
For example, if lorries get stuck at Calais and Dover because of any new customs delays, will vital drugs like insulin be held up?
Mr Hancock has advised pharmaceutical companies they should have six weeks’ worth of supplies built up to avoid any possible disruption, but they have already said that stockpiling this much will not be straightforward with only 200 days to go until Britain leaves the EU.
It certainly makes for an uncertain and unknown horizon looming, so be sure to keep following Brexit Decoded for further updates – and join in our free forum to have your say and stay informed.