WATCH: NHS boss reveals 'significant' plans to keep medicine stocks up after no deal Brexit

Posted On: 
1st July 2018

Health bosses have begun emergency planning for a no-deal Brexit amid fears crashing out of the EU could restrict the supply of medicines, the chief executive of the NHS said today.

NHS England boss Simon Stevens
PA Images

NHS England boss Simon Stevens said "significant planning" was underway as the Brexit date of 21 March 2019 looms with little progress in negotiations with Brussels.

Concerns have been raised that quitting without a future trade deal would leave Britain struggling to import the drugs, equipment and other treatments it needs to stock its hospitals.

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But Mr Stevens insisted on the BBC Andrew Marr show that there was “significant planning going on around all the scenarios including these medicines supply scenarios”.

He said: "There is immediate planning which the health department with other parts of government are undertaking around securing medicines supply and equipment under different scenarios.

"That will obviously crystallise when it is clear later this autumn what the UK’s position will be."

Meanwhile, there are fears EU staff working in the NHS could pour out of the country after Brexit or fail to sign up for the settled status offered by the Government.

But Mr Stevens said: "Every hospital has now been written to asking them to reach out to their staff from the rest of the EU reminding them that the Home Secretary has now set a clear process which people can apply to stay in this country, which we hope they will do."

The UK and EU are hoping to reach a Brexit deal by October this year so the parliaments of all the 27 remaining member states, as well as the UK parliament, can approve it before the end date.

Elsewhere, Mr Stevens refused to say the £20bn NHS cash boost announced by Theresa May last month would be "enough" for the health service - although he said it would allow it to do more than simply stand still.

MUST READ: Mr Stevens gave an interview to PoliticsHome sister title the House Magazine for its latest edition. Read it in full here