Public Accounts Committee

Exiting the EU: supplying the health and social care sectors inquiry

Inquiry status: Concluded

Due to the general election on 12 December 2019 the Committee has now closed this inquiry. Following the dissolution of Parliament on 6 November, all Select Committees will cease to exist until after the general election. If an inquiry on this subject is held in the future, the Committee may refer to the evidence already gathered as part of this inquiry.

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.

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