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02.07.18

Stevens reveals plan for a potential ‘no-deal’ Brexit

NHS England chief executive, Simon Stevens, has announced that “extensive” planning is underway to ensure NHS supplies in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Stevens told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show that a no-deal scenario was not desirable but he welcomed the preparations.

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

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

“Nobody’s in any doubt whatsoever that top of the list in terms of ensuring continued supplies for all the things that we need in this country right at the top of the list has got to be those medical supplies.”

The UK receives 37m packs of medicine from the EU every month according to the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry.

Responding to Stevens’ comments, Niall Dickson, co-chair of the Brexit Health Alliance, said: “Much of what the NHS does is on a ‘just in time’ basis and the service cannot afford to wander into a situation where supplies simply stop or dry up.”

Last month, Theresa May announced a £20bn a year boost in NHS funding, a rise Stevens says is a “significant improvement” and “represents a real step change in the money that will be going into the National Health Service over the next five years.”

Questions have been raised over the retention of international staff coming from the EU27 countries.

In response to these worries Stevens said every hospital had been asked to "reach out" to EU nationals working there with information about how to apply to stay in the UK.

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Image credit: vchal, iStock

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