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Government NHS guidance over Brexit is like navigating through ‘treacle’

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Health leaders have warned that NHS trusts are seriously struggling to obtain a growing list of drugs, over Brexit uncertainty as the UK’s future with the EU is unclear.

One trust chief executive, who spoke under the condition of anonymity said several “hard-to-obtain” medicines is “escalating exponentially on a daily basis.”

There are hospitals across England that are struggling to get around 160 medicines per day, this is five times more than expected.

The government has told the NHS not to stockpile medications, as they have plans in place for continued supplies in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

The trust chief executive said, “While we are told by the centre that drugs and supplies will continue to be available, I think locally we are all incredibly worried about whether that will actually be the case or not.”

“We are already starting to see now the number of hard-to-obtain drugs is escalating exponentially on a daily basis.”

They added: “On an average day, we would probably have 30 drugs on our list that are hard to get.

“We are now getting into the 160s on a daily basis, and I can’t believe for one minute that that is not a direct link with what is going on in terms of Brexit negotiations.”

Two more NHS leaders who also spoke on the condition of anonymity, warned of similar problems with getting hold of much needed medication.

NHS trusts have complained that, central government are not providing clear instruction as to how they can prepare for a no-deal Brexit.

Another trust cheif executive said guidance from the government has been “sketchy” and added, “It’s been like navigating your way through treacle, if I’m honest.”

Saffron Cordery, the deputy chief executive of the NHS providers said, at a local level there is an “information vacuum.”

Cordery added, “Trusts are currently doing all they can to minimise any potential disruption, but the political sensitivity around it has massively hampered the ability of the local trusts’ regional structures and the departments of state to actually plan properly around this.”




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