No-deal Brexit plans

HEALTH and social care staff in England have been sent details of ongoing preparations for a no-deal Brexit.

A letter from Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock states that his Department is working closely with trade bodies, product suppliers and other key partners to ensure the continued supply of medicines and medical products in the event of a no-deal EU exit.

He writes: “While we never provide guarantees, we are confident that, if everyone – including suppliers, freight companies, international partners and the health and care system – does what they need to do, the supply of medicines and medical products should be uninterrupted in the event of exiting the EU without a deal.”

He urges providers and patients not to stockpile additional medicines beyond business-as-usual levels, as the necessary stockpiling is being carried out by pharmaceutical companies.

“Local stockpiling is unnecessary and could cause shortages which would put those that need medicines at risk. It is important patients and service users only order repeat prescriptions when necessary and keep taking medicines as normal.”

The letter also pledges “unwavering commitment and support to the EU health and social care staff who make an invaluable contribution across the UK”. It states that EU staff will have broadly the same rights and benefits currently enjoyed and this applies if individuals arrive on or before the day the UK leaves the EU – with or without a deal.

Government is encouraging all EU citizens who already live in the UK to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to secure either “settled status” if having lived in the UK for five years, or “pre-settled status” for those present fewer than five years.