Audit body warns of risks to medicine supplies in no-deal Brexit, despite preparations
Amid the political chaos and bitter recriminations in Westminster in the build-up to Brexit, there is still a risk of delays to health and social care supplies if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the UK’s National Audit Office (NAO) has warned. An independent Parliamentary body, the NAO audits central government departments, government agencies, and non-departmental public bodies as well as assessing value for money audits of public policy. In a report published today the NAO reviewed the Department for Health and Social Care’s (DHSC) preparations to ensure a steady flow of supplies for the sector when it leaves the EU, and acknowledged the considerable efforts made so far to mitigate the impact of a no-deal Brexit. Although the NAO said there are huge uncertainties about the impact of a no-deal Brexit, it noted the government’s “reasonable worst case” assumption that flow of goods across the Channel could be reduced to 40-60% of current levels at day one. According to the NAO, suppliers said that they had only found shipping arrangements away from the short channel crossings for 25% of medicine product lines, as of 20th September. According to the NAO, suppliers have at least six weeks’ stock for 72% of product lines, and 91% of additional freight capacity procured by the government so far is for priority supplies to the health and social care sector.