Only 1 in 12 NHS trusts have prepared for a no-deal Brexit

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  • Only 3 out of 38 NHS trusts surveyed by Politico have any preparations or impact assessments for no-deal Brexit.
  • Health and Social Select Committee Chair Sarah Wollaston said a no-deal Brexit could be “completely paralyzing” for the NHS.
  • On Tuesday morning a letter from NHS providers CEO Chris Hopson leaked, in which he said the NHS would be affected by a hard or no deal Brexit from “day one” of leaving.
  • Anti-Brexit campaigners are protesting outside the Department for Health with fake stockpiles on Wednesday.

LONDON – Most hospitals in the UK have not made formal plans for a no-deal Brexit or carried out assessments into the possible impact of leaving the European Union without a deal.

As the UK government prepares to release an array of technical notes on how it is preparing the prospect of a no-deal Brexit, a Freedom Of Information request has revealed how few NHS trusts have prepared for the increasing possibility of Britain crashing out of the EU without a deal.

Out of the NHS 38 trusts that responded to Politico’s Freedom Of Information request, only 3 said they had documents relating to preparations and impact assessments on different Brexit scenarios.

On Tuesday, a letter from NHS providers CEO Chris Hopson outlining his concerns regarding no deal preparations leaked to the media, in which he outlined that the UK would be affected from “day one” of leaving the EU.

“Public health and disease control coordination could also suffer, and our efforts to reassure, retain and attract the European workforce on which the NHS relies could also be jeopardized,” his letter said.

Sarah Wollaston, chair of the Health and Social Care Select Committee Sarah Wollaston, said a no deal Brexit could be “completely paralysing” for the NHS.

“There are some medicines, devices … that we can’t make in this country,” Wollaston told Politico.

Jeremy Hunt Theresa MayChristopher Furlong/GettyFormer Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Theresa May

“There is not a drop of insulin [which is required daily by many diabetics] produced in this country … We can’t source plasma in this country because of the leftover concerns about CJD [Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, know colloquially as mad cow disease] for example. It’s all imported. If people don’t get their plasma products that will have very major knock-on implications for people having certain kinds of surgery and certain kinds of treatments.”

In a Select Committee testimony earlier this month, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that an operational team with industry knowledge is set to advise the government on how to achieve the required capacity for key medicines, and that the government is “working with industry to prepare for the potential need for stockpiling.”

With Theresa May’s government preparing to publish its first batch of no-deal technical notices on Thursday, anti-Brexit campaigners are upping their activity around the threat of a no deal Brexit.

Our Future Our Choice (OFOC), who are allied with the People’s Vote campaign for another Brexit referendum, who protested outside the Department of Health on Wednesday morning with fake stockpiles and placards.

Speaking in a video over Twitter, an OFOC campaigner jokingly claimed that they were the “first people in the entire country to start stockpiling for no deal Brexit.”

On Tuesday, Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab described reports that leaving the EU without a deal could lead to a shortage in medicines as “hair-raising scare stories” that were “very far from the truth.”

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