Scope of the inquiry
Government departments are preparing for a range of Brexit scenarios, including a ‘no-deal’ exit from the EU. Cross-government plans aim to ensure that goods can flow through the UK border without significant delay. The Department of Health & Social Care and NHS England and NHS Improvement have been working with a wide range of organisations to understand the scale and nature of the supply challenge within their responsibilities. Supplies to the NHS and social care sectors involve thousands of items, ranging from medicines and blood products to gloves and other non-clinical consumables. In December 2018, the Department brought all its preparations for maintaining supplies in the event of a ‘no-deal’ EU exit under a single Continuity of Supply Programme. The programme’s objective is “to safeguard patient care and to ensure that the supply of medicines and medical products remains unhindered in a no-deal scenario”.
The National Audit Office reported on Government’s plans at the end of last month. The Committee’s inquiry will consider the Government’s plan and the progress made, particularly in relation to preparedness of the supplier base, freight capacity and the preparedness across the health and social care sectors.