Supply of Medicines post #Brexit

SUPPLY OF MEDICINES FOLLOWING A NO-DEAL BREXIT

SITUATION AT 12 SEPTEMBER 2020

NOTES BY LEEDS HOSPITAL ALERT

Sources of information:

Cabinet paper: “Operation Yellowhammer: Government’s Worst Case Planning Assumptions” (11 September 2019).
Statements from the British Medical Association and the Healthcare Regulatory Authority.
Statement by Meg Hillier MP, Chair of Public Accounts Committee.
Audit Office report: “Exiting the EU: Supplying the Health and Social Care Sectors” (27 September 2019).
British Medical Journal articles dated 14 November 2018 and 20 August 2019.
Letter from Michael Gove, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, to Stuart Andrew MP, dated 3 October 2019, in response to his letter about supplies of medicines, dated 18 June 2019.

In addition: Leeds Hospital Alert was advised by Leeds’s Director of Public Health to send questions about the supply of medicines following a No Deal Brexit to the Ministerial Correspondence and Public Enquiries Unit at the Department of Health, and wrote on 20 February 2020. The Unit replied on 30 March to say that it could not answer the enquiry. A follow-up call to the Unit on 11 September revealed that the Unit “has no specific information” about the supply of medicines.

The Basic Problem and the Government’s Proposals

Three quarters of medicines used in the UK come from the European Union, mainly by the “Short Straits” route to Dover and Folkestone. After Brexit, access will be reduced to 40% – 60% of current supplies for up to six months.

The government proposes to deal with this in three ways:

Stockpiling: The government told medical suppliers in August to stockpile six weeks’ worth of medicines as a “buffer” against disruption when the Brexit transition period ends on 31 December.

New freight routes: the government has finalised a contract (£87m) with four ferry groups to bring in medicines on seven other routes rather than on the “Short Straits” route. There will also be aircraft chartered to bring in medicines with a short life, and a dedicated courier service.

Changes to Regulatory Requirements: using the government’s existing “Serious Shortage Protocols”, pharmacists will be able to provide alternative medicines of the same quality and pharmaceutical content, with different strengths up to the same dose; the therapeutic equivalent of any medicines not available.

Questions to the Government

Why is the proposed period for stockpiles planned for six weeks, when disruption of supplies is forecast to last six months?

The British Medical Association and the Royal College of Nursing have pointed out that “many medicines cannot be stockpiled”. What are the government’s plans for these medicines?

How will stockpiling work for medicines that need to be kept at a controlled, low temperature during transport and storage? These medicines include insulin and medicines derived from blood plasma. Sir Michael Rawlins, Chair of the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Authority, has expressed particular concern about the storage of insulin in stockpiling.

The Audit Office reported that ministers do not know if there will be enough freight capacity in place to cope. Will the government issue new information confirming that the capacity exists?

How will the new freight routes work? Which companies will be running them? How will medicines such as insulin be transported safely? What professional oversight will there be of the process?

When will the government issue information to patients and their families who are worried about the supply of medicines? Attempts to get information directly have not proved successful (e.g. correspondence with the Department of Health, quoted above). Diabetes UK states: “We are concerned that the government has not communicated its plans regarding the continued supply of insulin in the event of a no deal Brexit, which is causing unnecessary concern for people with diabetes”.

Matt Hancock, Secretary of State, has apparently refused to rule out that people could die because of shortages of medical supplies following a No Deal Brexit (Evening Standard, 15 November 2018). Does Mr Hancock still stand by this statement?

Brexit medicines

12092020

#ThankyouNHS Heartfelt NHS tribute from Leeds Hospital Alert member

I would just like to share the wonderful care my daughter received during a recent serious illness

Despite the pressure the hospitals are under due to the corona virus her consultation, investigations and treatment were carried out very quickly, even to the point of seeing three different consultants from three different specialities in four days.She has been kept up to date with all that is happening throughout either with a face to face discussion when needed or by telephone.The NHS at it’s very best and for me personally worth all the fighting and campaigning I have been involved in over many years. This is why we must continue our fight to keep our beloved NHS so other people can receive the same wonderful care

I am pleased to say despite a lot of worry and sometimes heartache it appears that for now at least things are looking good and she is for the next few days staying in her caravan by the sea on the east coast enjoying a well deserved rest.

#ThankyouNHS

Yorkshire Health Campaigns Together meeting 1st May 2020

Yorks HCT mtg 1.5.20 final

Summary Action Agreed

  1. Push the “Test, test, test, PPE, Keep Key Workers Virus free” message. Gilda can send A4 rainbow poster on request and will pass on a new one 999 is preparing
  2. Consider taking the clap out from our streets to more public places such as outside hospitals, maybe even Social Care homes.
  3. Spread campaign re migrant charging (Leeds open letter attached)
  4. Press local and regional health and Social Care Scrutiny Boards to meet (Jenny writing)
  5. Start some serious campaigning for a national, free at the point of use, public national Social care service.
  6. Don’t lose sight of Trade deals and exert what pressure we can on our MPs et al
  7. Do all we can to support whistle-blowers
  8. Think creatively about co-ordinated celebration, protest, campaigning and maybe even marching in July. Possibly on the weekend of 4th and 5th and maybe 25th as well.

Nationalising Special Purpose Vehicles to end PFI: a discussion of the costs and benefits by Helen Mercer and Dexter Whitfield:

MERCER_Nationalising_Special_Purpose_Vehicles_to_End_PFI_2019

Important public meeting online, May 5th 7pm, Coronavirus crisis: What now for the NHS?

Speakers:

Richard Horton – Editor of The Lancet
Professor Allyson Pollock – Consultant in public health and director of Newcastle University Centre for Excellence in Regulatory Science
Dr John Lister – editor of Health Campaigns Together, co-editor of The Lowdown (Lowdownnhs.info)
Dr Sonia Adesara – Junior Doctor and member of KONP’s NHS Staff Voices group
Pam Kleinot – Producer of Under The Knife

This is an online meeting held via Zoom, an easy-to-use videoconferencing app.

Please register here: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_SeVsKXHHRIa2fvHiDRZVJg

Join Keep Our NHS Public and Health Campaigns Together, to hear from expert analysts, frontline NHS workers and the producer of Under The Knife (feature documentary on the  covert dismantling of the NHS) to hear about how, aggravated by Government arrogance and failure in the early stage of the Coronavirus outbreak, the NHS has been defunded, understaffed and fragmented by privatisation to such an extent that it’s preparedness for the current emergency has been severely undermined and has needlessly cost lives.