Information for patients, carers and the public

Following the vote to leave the European Union in 2016, we are aware that many of you face a period of uncertainty and others will also be concerned about the impact this will have on family members, friends and work colleagues. Information from NHS England and NHS Improvement can be found here.

Brexit: supply of medicines

Many of our patients rely on a variety of medicines to manage their conditions and we fully understand that many of you, and your carers, will be concerned about the supply of medicines.

The government has developed a UK-wide plan to make sure medicines and vaccines get into the UK in the event of a no-deal exit from the EU.  Pharmaceutical companies that supply the UK with medicines from, or via, the EU have been asked to ensure they have at least six weeks’ additional supply of medicines in the UK than they would normally have, by 29 March 2019.

The latest update from the Department of Health and Social Care is that there has been a very good response from pharmaceutical companies to this request.

The actions we are taking

We are working closely with our NHS partners, our wholesalers and others to make sure we continue to have enough supplies of medicines for our patients.  We are in discussions with our suppliers, including our homecare delivery partners (organisations that deliver medicines directly to patients’ homes), to ensure they have good arrangements in place for a no-deal exit from the EU.  We are also working with suppliers of products used in clinical trials, compassionate use programmes and managed access schemes, to make sure there are plans in place.

The government has advised that hospitals and patients should not stockpile medicines and that doctors should not write NHS prescriptions for longer than necessary.

How you can help

As usual, make sure you have enough ‘buffer stock’ by keeping at least two to four weeks’ worth of your medicines at all times (as advised by your clinical team), and requesting repeat prescriptions or homecare deliveries well in advance of this supply running out.  That will give your pharmacy or homecare provider enough time to deal with any shortages should they arise.  It’s important to note that this is standard practice for our patients and not new advice.

Further information

If you have specific enquiries relating to supply of medicines, please contact the Department of Health and Social Care on 020 7210 4850.  Further information is available on the government website.

How can you find out more information?

If you would like to find out more information about what the impact will be on leaving the European Union on the health and social care sector, you can find out more information on the Government website.