No-deal Brexit fears: Brighton health chiefs warned not to stockpile drugs

NHS
NHS

Local health chiefs already struggling with shortages of medicine are being warned not to stockpile drugs ahead of a possible no-deal Brexit by the government.

Health bosses were reassured that there are plans in place to make sure the region doesn’t run out of drugs, with daily meetings scheduled on all aspects of Brexit planning for the 12 weeks from the day we are currently set to leave the EU, March 29.

The main focus is currently ensuring the workforce is in place to keep the NHS functioning.

The issue was discussed by health bosses from Brighton and Hove and Lewes and High Weald Clinical Commissioning Groups at their shared governing body meeting on Wednesday (January 30).

Joint chair Dr Elizabeth Gill said she is experiencing issues already. She told the CCGs governing bodies: “There are drugs we cannot get hold of now. Normal day-to-day drugs.”

During discussions at the governing body Brighton GP Dir Jim Graham said: “When you are told not to stockpile drugs, people don’t think.

“That needs to be anticipated and thought through.”

Member for public and patient engagement, Mike Holdgate said: “Communication with the public is essential. It is quite fast moving.

“It worries me that people will become really concerned about these things.”

Terry Willows, director of corporate affairs for Central Sussex and East Surrey Commissioning Alliance told the joint governing body  he is leading the area’s preparations for Brexit.

He said: “There is no need to worry, you will be able to get what you need. There are plans in place to make sure we do not run out of drugs.

“There are lots of things that could happen in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Lots of work is going on at a national level to prepare.

“The mechanisms of supply are dealt with at a national level and our plan needs to be part of a national response.”

He added: “We need to make sure staff are able to get to work and those who are EU nationals have gone through the settlement scheme.”

Transport disruption and delayed traffic were other issues he raised.

He told the board: “East to west travel is difficult in Sussex. If there are problems with travel it may be around the ports.

“In the event of a no-deal Brexit customs delays may increase around Newhaven and Shoreham ports and Gatwick.”