Government ‘must reveal no-deal Brexit contingency plans’

Fears that no-deal Brexit could threaten medicine supplies.

The Brexit Health Alliance has called on the government to reveal the no-deal Brexit contingency plans that it is drawing up.

Responding to the evidence by the health secretary to the Health and Social Care Committee about no-deal Brexit plans, Niall Dickson, co-chair of the Brexit Health Alliance, said: “Ministers are right to plan for the worst while doing everything to make sure the worst does not happen, but now is the time to start spreading the word about the scale and nature of the challenge and to enable NHS Trusts and others to prepare.”

His comments follow health secretary Matt Hancock’s admission to the Health Select Committee that he had met with medical industry leaders to ‘accelerate’ preparations for a no-deal Brexit, including stockpiling medicines and blood products.

Mr Hancock said: “We are working right across government to ensure that the health sector and the industry are prepared and that people’s health will be safeguarded in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

“This includes the chain of medical supplies, vaccines, medical devices, clinical consumables, blood products. I have asked the department to work up options for stockpiling by industry.”

Mr Dixon added: “We may be able to accept delays for some goods crossing borders, but that is simply not acceptable for medicines and other materials on which patients rely every day. Whatever happens in the negotiations, there is an absolute requirement on all those in office to make sure that patients continue to receive the medicines and the treatment they need. This is real…We can avoid this but getting solid plans in place to cope with every eventuality will be vital.”