Care homes and other stakeholders in the UK medicines supply chain are reminded of EU Exit Operational Readiness Guidance which will come into effect if the UK leaves the EU without a ratified deal – a ‘no deal’ exit. This will ensure organisations are prepared for, and can manage, the risks in such a scenario.
The guidance covers seven areas including workforce. This states:
- The current expectation is that there will not be a significant degree of health and care staff leaving around exit day. Organisations can escalate concerns through existing reporting mechanisms to ensure there is regional and national oversight.
- Through the EU Settlement Scheme, EU citizens will be able to register for settled status in the UK if they have been here for five years, or pre-settled status if they have been here for less than five years. This will ensure the rights of EU citizens are protected in the UK after EU Exit, and guarantee their status and right to work. The scheme will be fully open by March 2019 and remain open until 31 December 2020 in a ‘no deal’ scenario.
- Health and care professionals (including UK citizens), whose qualification has been recognised and who are registered in the UK before 23:00 on 29 March 2019, will continue to be registered after this point.
In terms of medicines, UK health providers should not stockpile additional medicines beyond their business as usual stock levels. There is also no need for clinicians to write longer NHS prescriptions and the public should be discouraged from stockpiling. The responsible person is charged with ensuring compliance with this guidance; over-ordering of medicines or unnecessary export of medicines will be investigated.
The Department is putting in place a “serious shortage protocol”. This will involve changes to medicines legislation that, for example, will allow pharmacists to change a doctor’s prescription to a clinically appropriate alternative. Robust safeguards will be put in place to ensure this is operationalised safely, including making authoritative clinical advice available.
Public Health England (PHE) will ensure the continuity of supply for centrally-procured vaccines and other products that are distributed to the NHS for the UK National Immunisation Programme or used for urgent public health use.
Other areas covered by the guidance include
- supply of medical devices and clinical consumables
- supply of non-clinical consumables, goods and services
- reciprocal healthcare
- research and clinical trials
- data sharing, processing and access.