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Nearly two-thirds of primary care staff say Brexit will worsen medicine shortages

Almost two-thirds of primary care workers have predicted that Brexit will make medicines shortages worse, according to a new survey, which highlights a sector already struggling to cope with sourcing adequate medicines supply.

A clear majority (64%) of the 2,300 GPs, practice managers, practice and community nurses and community pharmacists surveyed expressed significant worries that Brexit would make medicines less easily available, while more than half (54%) thought it would lead to community pharmacies stockpiling medicines.

The worrying findings are presented by Cogora – the company which publishes Pulse and sister titles Healthcare Leader, Management in Practice, Nursing in Practice Pulse and The Pharmacist – as part of the sixth annual Primary Concerns report.

The report, published today, involved surveying Pulse and sister publication readers at the end of last year on subjects impacting their working lives, and found medicines shortages plagued primary care throughout 2018.

At the end of 2018 when the survey was conducted, the UK had already begun experiencing shortages of certain medications.

By October 2018, 45 drugs had become so scarce that the DHSC resorted to paying more for them to improve continuity of supply. By January 2019, there were 80 medicines on that list.

Earlier this week, primary care minister Steve Brine resigned over Brexit fears, and last month, GP Dr Sarah Wollaston, who chaired the House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee, resigned from the Conservative Party in protest over Brexit.