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GPs go forth

Hancock given 10 days to answer no-deal Brexit medicine shortage concerns

Health secretary Matt Hancock has been given a 10-day deadline to respond to queries about a potential medicine shortage in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

The EU home affairs sub-committee said Mr Hancock’s response earlier this month to previous question on the subject from last year had not 'alleviated all of the members' concerns'.

In the latest letter sent to Mr Hancock yesterday, the committee’s chair, Lord Jay of Ewelme said the Government had not yet explained:

  • When it will contact suppliers of medicines and medical products to give them notice and guidance on rerouting their supplies.
  • What plans Public Health England has to ensure there is no shortage of vaccines, and does it plan to stockpile them or any other products used for urgent use.
  • Whether it has a list of other products that may need to be stockpiled.
  • What effect a no-deal exit will have on pharmaceutical manufacturers.

'Given that we are now just nine weeks away from leaving the EU with the increasing possibility of doing so without a deal, and noting the delayed response to our previous letter, we expect a response within ten working days,' the letter said.

Lord Jay also asked for more details on the costs of flying medical products into the UK for a six-week period, which the health secretary did not previously disclose.

The committee stressed without this information it cannot fulfil its democratic obligation to scrutinise the Government.

The letter comes as the Government announced pharmacists will be given the power to swap GP prescriptions for alternatives during shortages, from 9 February. The changes were in response to a consultation prompted by preparations for a possible ‘no deal’ Brexit.

Last December, the Government stressed there was no need for GPs to stockpile medicines, vaccines, medical devices or clinical consumables, in spite of the uncertainty surrounding Brexit.

GPs were also warned by the health secretary Matt Hancock that any stockpiling would be investigated, adding that the Government has contingency plans to ensure the continued supply of medicines. 


Readers' comments (7)

  • Interesting times if the wholesaler or drug companies bump up cost exceeding the tariff prices dispensaries and pharmacies will be dispensing medicines at a loss, potentially all medicines,how long will the system sustain that none knows.Could it break, no one knows??There seem to be a lot or blue tory chickens coming home to roost in the next year.

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  • National Hopeless Service

    app your way out of that Hancock.

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  • Day 10: Hancock instructed
    Day 9: NHSE told
    Day 8: NHS regional teams stipulated
    Day 7: NHS regional Pharmacy teams requested
    Day 6: STP pharmacy teams demanded
    Day 5: CCGs charged
    Day 4: Pharmacy Teams entreated
    Day 3: Pharmacies commanded
    Day 2: Suppliers implored
    Day 1: Query folder for GP 'Not available, please suggest alternative'.

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  • Nhsfatcat

    "If GPs didn't prescribe these medicines they'd be no problem." Matt Hancock 30th March 2019.

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  • Today, GPs in Medway have received a deadline to give CCGs feedback by 31st of Jan about their 'Contingency Brexit Plans' ??????
    And the ball will be back in his court to pass on the Home Affairs Committee. Our response - No plans as no feasibility studies done.
    How much does it help doing a futile exercise and taking up GP time?

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  • What a fuc...d up world, we worry about our medical supplies when millions are dying and starving throughout the world. Our patients obsess over their health led by our governments will to please them. We argue over the minutiae of protocols not to get sued by money humping minorities, yet the world has millions dying from lack of medical care and clean water. We spend a fortune on paper news articles and all our mental prowess in working out the complexities of brexit and millions carry on dying from day to day with little or no help from anyone. What a selfish world we live in. What a f....d up world we live in.

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  • Luke, we could try and make it a bit better, by championing that the state should allow individuals to be as free as they can be, to do what they do best, without infringing on rights of others, and that is, a small state governing the judiciary and security. And the vast majority of us, would strive to fulfill our responsibilities and let our innate altruism show

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