Government 'stockpiling body bags' says doctor who contributed to Yellowhammer

PUBLISHED: 16:10 03 September 2019 | UPDATED: 16:16 03 September 2019

Dr Nicholls, who contributed to the Yellowhammer report, claimed that the government is stockpiling body bags in case of increased mortality after a no-deal Brexit. Picture: BBC

Dr Nicholls, who contributed to the Yellowhammer report, claimed that the government is stockpiling body bags in case of increased mortality after a no-deal Brexit. Picture: BBC

BBC

A medic who contributed to the Yellowhammer report has made the alarming claim that the government is stockpiling body bags in case of an increased mortality rate after a no-deal Brexit.

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Neurologist Dr David Nicholl volunteered earlier this year to contribute to Operation Yellowhammer, the government's secret no-deal Brexit planning documents that were leaked in August.

Interviewed on BBC's Victoria Derbyshire show, he said: "They're stockpiling body bags for the risk of an increased mortality rate in a no-deal Brexit."

He also called former health minister Stephen Hammond a "secret hero" for warning the government about it in February this year.

He added: "I think that people who support a no-deal Brexit need to be aware of what level of harm they are willing to accept."

His warning comes amid several calls from health professionals to address the potential effects of a no-deal Brexit on health services, staffing and supplies.

WATCH: Doctor asks Brexiteer what level of mortality rate he is willing to accept to deliver Brexit

MORE: No-deal Brexit likely to delay flu vaccine just as 'particularly virulent' strain threatens UK

Nicholl also said: "I'm not a natural Tory but Stephen Hammond I think is a secret hero for what he did, actually, because back in February, he did tell about the worst case scenario, and he wrote about the body bags."

Nicholl appeared on the show alongside Brexiteer Tory MP Martin Vickers, disability campaigner Dan White, a father of a young girl with spina bifida, and Paul Clark, a throat cancer survivor.

Vickers said he had not been aware that the government was stockpiling body bags. "On what basis do you fear more deaths?" he asked Nicholl. "Where is the evidence?"

White, who has a daughter with spina bifida, said that shortages of her medicine have already begun to hit home under stockpiling pressure, and that people have told him they are going onto "half rations".

Vickers, who has been on the health committee, responded that he had received "absolute assurances that systems were in place to ensure that there would be no shortage of medicines", and promised to press the health minister once again on the matter.

But, he added, "I think we've got to take on trust what the minister tells us.

"The government are not going to allow a situation where drugs run short."

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