Questions to the Counsel General and Brexit Minister (in respect of his Brexit Minister responsibilities): Additional 'No Deal' Preparatory Measures

Janet:

Will the Counsel General outline what additional 'no deal' preparatory measures the Welsh Government is undertaking in relation to health and social services prior to 31 October 2019?

 

Counsel General and Brexit Minister: 

Yes. Significant work has been undertaken across health and social care to prepare for a 'no deal' Brexit. A review of the sector’s preparedness has recently been undertaken, which provided considerable assurance about preparations. Work will continue to ensure preparatory measures are as robust as possible.

 

Janet:

Thank you. According to the 'Managing Brexit/EU withdrawal in health and social care in Wales' document produced by the NHS Confederation for all health and social care professionals in Wales, health boards and trusts have been working to ensure robust plans are in place to manage any public health scenario. It is noted, however, that existing systems have been tested and have led to the finding that they are robust enough to withstand 'no deal'-related disturbances. This is positive news, of course. However, I would be grateful if you could provide an update on your workings with the pharmaceutical sector and UK Government so to help ensure that there is not a medicine shortage should we leave without a deal in October.

 

Counsel General and Brexit Minister:

I thank the Member for that question. I recently met with Public Health Wales to discuss, in particular, the impact of Brexit. The review that we have been undertaking proposed a small number of actions that we're taking forward, including clinical input into decision making around some of the steps that would flow from a Brexit scenario, improving the robustness of some of the procurement that we have in relation to stock that is usually purchased by health boards, other than that which is held centrally by NHS Wales's shared services, and also maintaining, or improving, the awareness of various stakeholders in the health sector of the processes that we've already put in place to manage circumstances where certain supplies might come under pressure.

She will know that we have purchased warehouse capacity in south Wales to maintain stocks of medical supplies, which continues, and we work with the UK Government to maintain the arrangements currently in place in relation to the buffer for medical supplies. Our advice to people in Wales and to health boards and to practitioners is that they should not be stockpiling and they should not be seeking or issuing longer prescriptions than otherwise would be the case.