The NHS – Brexit planning and advice

Background

In the run up to Brexit, the government is continuing to negotiate with its European counterparts on the terms and conditions of the UK’s departure from the EU, as well as the continuity arrangements that will come into force immediately afterwards.

The government has stated that the UK will leave the EU with or without these arrangements – often referred to by the media as an agreed deal – in place.


Preparing for Brexit

Like all industries that have links to the continent, the NHS could be impacted by a no-deal Brexit.

However, the Department of Health and Social Care has stated that the right steps are being taken to support the NHS to continue operating as close to normal as possible in the event of leaving the EU without an agreed deal.


Medicines

Plans have already been put in place to ensure pharmaceutical companies, as well as those companies that produce essential medical devices, have enough stock in reserve to cover any initial period of disruption.

This means that patients, who regularly use medicines or products which come from Europe, should still be able to receive their prescriptions as normal.

It is not uncommon for stocks of medicines and equipment to run low from time-to-time and, as a result, healthcare staff across the NHS are already familiar with the steps needed to ensure people carry on getting what they need to make them feel better.

Also, the Department of Health and Social Care has also awarded contracts for an Express Freight Service.

This means that following Brexit, vital medicines and medical products can be transported from the location they are produced to the point they are needed within 24-48 hours to meet any urgent needs that might arise.


Advice for patients

The government has asked all hospitals, GP surgeries and community pharmacists not to stock up on extra medicines and equipment in the run up to Brexit, nor to issue patients with longer-than-usual prescriptions.

Patients have also been advised against stockpiling, as doing so could result in there being less medicine and equipment available for others in a similar position.

Work is ongoing behind-the-scenes to ensure patients carry on receiving treatment and care as normal.


What is happening in Gloucestershire?

NHS Gloucestershire CCG has been working with NHS England and its partners across local health and social care services to plan for a no-deal Brexit.

We have planned for a range of potential scenarios and everything that can be done in advance to avoid possible disruption is being done.

We will use all available communication channels to ensure patients and the public are updated on any developments.


Further information

For more details on what the NHS is doing to prepare for Brexit, visit www.england.nhs.uk/eu-exit

For a list of common questions and answers relating to the availability of medicines after Brexit, visit www.england.nhs.uk/eu-exit/medicines/medicines-faq

 

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