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The UK is preparing to stockpile blood and medical supplies in case of a no-deal Brexit

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Matt Hancock
Health
Secretary Matt Hancock


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  • The UK will stockpile medicine and blood supplies in
    the event of a no-deal Brexit, according to the Health
    Secretary Matt Hancock.
  • He told the Health Select Committee that he had met
    with medical industry leaders to “accelerate” preparations for
    the possible outcome in March next year.
  • The UK relies on 370 million packs of medicine from the
    EU a month, as well as blood plasma supplies and radioactive
    isotopes used in X-rays.
  • Hancock’s warning came as the prospect of a no-deal
    Brexit becomes significantly more likely.

LONDON — The government is drawing up plans to stockpile
medicines and blood supplies in the event of a no-deal Brexit,
according to health secretary Matt Hancock.

He told the Health Select Committee that he had met with medical
industry leaders to “accelerate” preparations for the possible
outcome in March next year.

Hancock, who was appointed health secretary two weeks ago, said
he was confident the UK would reach a deal in negotiations but
said it was “responsible” to prepare for all outcomes.

“We are working right across government to ensure that the health
sector and the industry are prepared and that people’s health
will be safeguarded in the event of a no-deal Brexit,” he told
MPs on Tuesday.

“This includes the chain of medical supplies, vaccines, medical
devices, clinical consumables, and blood products.

“And I have asked the department to work up options for
stockpiling by industry.”

The NHS depends upon the free, unchecked flow of vital medicines
and supplies from elsewhere in Europe and failure to secure a
deal before Brexit would likely cause significant disruption to
treatment.

The UK relies on 370 million packs of medicine from the EU a
month, as well as blood plasma supplies and radioactive isotopes
used in X-rays.

Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, said earlier this
month that “significant planning” was underway to prepare for all
outcomes.

Labour’s shadow health secretary Justin Madders said the
preparations represented “the terrifying reality of this
government’s failure to prioritise the NHS in the Brexit
negotiations.”

“We need a Brexit deal which puts patients first but now we know
that the NHS is having to stockpile medicines because of this
government’s chaotic handling of Brexit,” he said in a statement.

No-deal


Theresa MayGetty

Hancock’s warning came as the prospect of a no-deal Brexit
becomes significantly more likely. May’s newly published Brexit
blueprint — known as the Chequers proposals — was received badly
by the pro- and anti-Brexit wings of her party and is also likely
to be rejected by Brussels.

The prime minister would also struggle to push through a much
softer or harder form of Brexit through parliament, however,
leading some to believe that a no-deal scenario has become a
highly realistic one.

If Britain fails to reach a deal by March next year, it will
automatically leave the EU.

That is why May has told government departments to “accelerate”
no-deal planning. They plan to issue weekly guidance to busineses
and households over the summer on how to plan for a no-deal
Brexit.

Brexit secretary Dominic Raab also told MPs on Tuesday that the
government would take steps to ensure there was an “adequate food
supply” if the UK leaves without a deal next year.

Our Brexit Insider Facebook group is the best place for up-to-date news and analysis about Britain’s departure from the EU, direct from Business Insider’s political reporters. Join here.

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