Health prepared for any Brexit scenario, says minister

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States departments are in the process of developing plans to cope with the challenges that Brexit may bring – particularly given the increasing likelihood that the UK might leave the European Union without a deal in place.

Health Minister Richard Renouf told the Brexit Review Panel that his department, in conjunction with the NHS, is in a good position.

The UK Department of Health recently announced that it had stockpiled six weeks’ worth of drugs as part of a contingency plan, should a no-deal Brexit create problems at the borders.

Jersey is aligned with the NHS and will continue to have access to NHS supplies during and after Brexit negotiations, the minister said.

‘We can give an assurance that all is being done to safeguard supplies,’ he said. ‘We are reliant on the UK supply chain but we believe adequate plans are in place.’

He added that the Channel Islands position was well known among senior NHS and UK Health Department officials.

Chief pharmacist Paul McCabe added that any current issues surrounding the supply of specific medications were not related to Brexit and added that the advice to the public was not to stockpile as this could create additional strain on supply.

He said that the NHS have ‘assured us that we are not going to be disadvantaged in any way’ and suppliers were aware of Jersey’s day-to-day needs.

‘Medicine is being stockpiled in the UK to be fed into the normal supply channels, if needed,’ he said. ‘We don’t anticipate any issues at all.’

Rob Sainsbury, group managing director for Health and Community Services, said that any issues arising from a potential no deal would not cause problems on day one.

‘We speak with the the UK’s Department of Health on a weekly basis. They have every detail around our drugs and our supplies of medical and surgical stock.

‘The requirements for us, and in Guernsey or a small hospital in the south west, are very similar and very well known.’

He added that Infrastructure Department officers had been working on ensuring supply routes were maintained and that they did not anticipate any problems in this area.

Deputy Kirsten Morel chaired the panel and was sitting alongside Senator Sarah Ferguson, Constable Mike Jackson and Deputies Mike Higgins, David Johnson and Rob Ward.

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