LONDON Sept 27 (Reuters) – By Kate Kelland, Well being and Science Correspondent
A Union Jack flag flutters as Massive Ben clock tower is seen behind on the Homes of Parliament in London, Britain September 11, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Britain’s looming exit from the EU carries actual dangers that medicines and healthcare provides can be delayed, the UK’s public spending watchdog stated on Friday, and an influential lawmaker stated a no-deal Brexit could have the “gravest of penalties”.
Whereas Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s authorities has taken some steps to handle the dangers, the Nationwide Audit Workplace (NAO)stated in a report, there’s nonetheless important work to be completed.
Lawmaker Meg Hillier, who chairs parliament’s public accounts committee, stated the report was “deeply regarding”.
The well being ministry “nonetheless doesn’t know whether or not all stockpiles are in place”, she stated, has no concept whether or not social care suppliers akin to nursing properties for the sick and aged are prepared, and isn’t positive whether or not freight capability wanted for medical imports can be in place on time.
“If (the) authorities will get this mistaken, it may have the gravest of penalties,” Hillier stated in a press release concerning the NAO report. She added that as head of the general public accounts committee, she’d already seen “numerous examples of deadlines missed and authorities failing”.
Johnson has vowed to take Britain out of the EU with or and not using a deal by Oct. 31 – rising the prospect of a sudden departure that may carry commerce tariffs and customs checks with the continent for the primary time in a long time.
The chance is acute for well being and social care companies, in addition to for the pharmaceutical trade, with 37 million packs of medicines imported into Britain from Europe each month.
The federal government’s personal cheap worst-case view is that the move of products throughout the channel Europe might be lowered to 40%-60% of regular ranges on day one after Brexit.
The Division for Well being & Social Care has requested medical suppliers to construct up stockpiles of medicines and different necessities and has discovered further warehouse capability for them.
A six-week stockpile of kit akin to gloves, syringes and different medical provides is 88% full, the NAO stated, however info on different stockpiles is “incomplete”.
The Division for Transport final week shortlisted eight firms that might bid to herald medication. The contracts would offer capability equal to hundreds of vans per week.
However the audit report stated the time was brief and warned that not all that freight capability is perhaps accessible on Oct. 31.
The NAO report comes after drugmakers and public well being consultants have additionally issued critical warnings about disruption to healthcare and medical companies if Britain crashes out of the EU.
On Wednesday, the minister answerable for no-deal planning Michael Gove instructed parliament: “We face undoubted challenges in leaving the European Union, however one space the place the best quantity of mitigation has been going down is in ensuring that we are able to proceed to supply all our constituents and the Nationwide Well being Service with the medication and medical provides they should preserve good well being.”