Concerns around a ‘no-deal’ Brexit and its effect on the British National Health System continue, with suggestions that Britain leaving the Union could lead to health risk for patients, and sees pharmaceutical companies being asked to stock-pile medications to avoid a disruption to patient care.
Brexit impact may be significant with Sir Christopher Wormald, the head of the Department of Health & Social Care, stating the three “concerns” facing British healthcare are “securing the supply of medicines, workforce questions and reciprocal health care arrangements with the EU.” This occurs in the wake of Britain already facing some medication shortages, such a “a critical supply issue” of Adrenaline, the medication used to treat many serious allergic reactions.
Health groups -including the Association of British Pharmaceutical Industry and Brexit Health Alliance- have expressed concern, informing the government that they “do not believe that the current medicine supply plans will suffice” and that Britain “will have widespread shortages ….if we do not respond urgently.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock faced the House of Commons during question time, and stated voting for Theresa May’s Brexit deal is the “best way to ensure unhindered supply of medicines and medical devices” but that the government are “planning for the unlikely event of a no-deal.”
Simon Stevens, the head of NHS England, confirmed that plans for a no-deal Brexit that are in place and will be implemented if British MP’s vote against Prime Minister May’s Brexit strategy in early December. It is suggested the plans would need to be implemented within a week if the proposal was not supported, at a cost expected in the “tens of millions of pounds.” If the nation left without a deal, Britain could negotiate to continue the arrangements but it would require individual agreements with each of the 27 EU member states.
Britain is scheduled to leave the European Union on March 29, 2019.