Health & NHS
RPS warns Boris Johnson of no deal flu threat
A no deal Brexit would hit the NHS just as the flu season begins to place â€œsignificant additional pressureâ€ on the health service, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and other organisations have warned the prime minister.
In an August 21 letter to Boris Johnson, 17 health bodies including the RPS and the Royal College of GPs warned they were â€œsimply unable to reassure patients that their health and care wonâ€™t be negatively impactedâ€ by Brexit.
The organisations urged the prime minister to offer health secretary Matt Hancock a seat on the Governmentâ€™s Brexit committee, as they said the implications of a no deal Brexit on the health system â€œmust be considered at the highest levelsâ€ of decision making.
The signatories said the NHS is â€œat the heart of a healthy societyâ€ and that without sufficient preparations â€œeven the smallest of problems could have huge consequences for the lives and wellbeing of millions of people and our economyâ€.
Concerns around the flow of medicines into the UK after the October 31 Brexit deadline have not been fully assuaged by the Governmentâ€™s contingency efforts, they wrote, explaining that any delays at the border â€œcould exacerbate current supply issues and create the very real possibility that life-saving medication and devices are delayed from making it into the UKâ€.
These threats are â€œcompounded by the fact that we are scheduled to leave the EU, potentially on a no deal basis, just as flu and the winter season beginsâ€.
They argued that the Governmentâ€™s Brexit strategy â€œmust include provision for different flu scenariosâ€ and that having the health secretary on the EU exit strategy committee would address this.
The Government has recentlyÂ made an additional Â£434m availableÂ to minimise potential disruption to medicines supply, as well as putting aÂ Â£25m contract for a no-deal medicines freight serviceÂ out to tender.