Please enable JavaScript to view the recommended articles powered by Zeddit.

Hancock's half baked: plan to maintain medicine supplies 'could cost £2bn'

PUBLISHED: 12:20 29 August 2018 | UPDATED: 12:21 29 August 2018

Health secretary Matt Hancock

$image.copyright

The health secretary’s plan to set aside six weeks’ worth of vital medicines to avoid supply disruptions in the event of a no-deal Brexit could cost up to £2bn, it was warned today.

Anti-Brexit campaign group Best for Britain used figures collated by think-tank the King's Fund earlier this year to suggest the cost of the temporary stockpile - which would presumably then be run down over future months - at up to £2bn.

The King's Fund data suggested the total drugs bill for the NHS in 2016-17 was £17.4bn.

In a letter to health and care providers last week, health secretary Matt Hancock said his department had “stepped up” its planning for a no-deal scenario and would guarantee an extra six weeks worth of supplies of medicines by March 29 next year.

Labour MP Owen Smith, a champion for Best for Britain, said: "I don’t remember anyone warning that Brexit would mean we'd have stockpile drugs or this would cost the NHS and taxpayers up to £2bn.

"Maybe they should have slapped that on the side of the bus.

"Every day it seems as though there is another hidden cost being revealed. Perhaps, Johnson, Gove, Farage, Raab and the rest of the Brexit snake oil salesmen should have told us to read the small print. That would have been more honest, at least."

In his letter, Hancock said the government had made "significant progress in negotiations with the EU and remains confident we will leave with a good deal for both sides, that supports existing and future healthcare collaboration".

But he adds: "However, as a responsible government, we continue to prepare proportionately for all scenarios, including the unlikely outcome that we leave the EU without any deal in March 2019.

"Along with other government departments, the Department of Health and Social Care has stepped up its planning for a ‘no deal’ scenario. We now have robust plans in place to protect patient safety and healthcare provision.

"Today’s announcement concerns our preparations to ensure that the NHS, other service providers, and ultimately patients continue to get the supplies they need, in a timely way."

Under the medicines scheme, Hancock says in the letter, pharmaceutical companies should ensure they have an additional six weeks supply of medicines in the UK on top of their own normal stock levels.

The scheme also includes separate arrangements for the air freight of medicines with short shelf-lives, such as medical radioisotopes.

"The government is working closely with companies who provide medicines in the UK to ensure patients continue to get the medicines they need," Hancock goes on.

"Hospitals, GPs and community pharmacies throughout the UK do not need to take any steps to stockpile additional medicines, beyond their business as usual stock levels. There is also no need for clinicians to write longer NHS prescriptions.

"Local stockpiling is not necessary and any incidences involving the over ordering of medicines will be investigated and followed up with the relevant Chief or Responsible Pharmacist directly."

You've seen the news, now discover the story

The New European is committed to providing in-depth analysis of the Brexit process, its implications and progress as well as celebrating European life.

Try 13 weeks for £13

Support The New European's vital role as a voice for the 48%

The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.

  • Become a friend of The New European for a contribution of £48. You will qualify for a mention in our newspaper (should you wish)
  • Become a partner of The New European for a contribution of £240. You will qualify for a mention in our newspaper (should you wish) and receive a New European Branded Pen and Notebook
  • Become a patron of The New European for a contribution of £480. You will qualify for a mention in our newspaper (should you wish) and receive a New European Branded Pen and Notebook and an A3 print of The New European front cover of your choice, signed by Editor Matt Kelly

By proceeding, you agree to the New Europeans supporters club Terms & Conditions which can be found here.



Supporter Options

Mention Me in The New European



If Yes, Name to appear in The New European



Latest Articles

Podcast

ANTI-BREXIT EVENTS

Grassroots anti-Brexit campaigners are increasing the pressure on politicians ahead of a series of important votes this year. Here is a list of the events organised across Britain in the coming weeks and months.

Trending

Newsletter Sign Up

The New European weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy