The Department for Health and Social Care has announced a £25m contract to set up an ‘express freight service’ to deliver medicines and medical products into the country. This is part of the Government’s plans to support continuity of supply when the UK leaves the EU on October 31.
The service is intended to deliver small parcels of medicines or medical products on a 24-hour basis, with additional provision to move larger pallet quantities on a two-to-four-day basis. The estimated total value of the contract is £25m and will run for 12 months, with a possible further 12-month extension.
Fiona Loud, Policy Director at Kidney Care UK, said: “This is a sensible move and we welcome the greater openness and focus the Government is now giving to their Brexit plans. However the supply of medicines and consumables is something patients are concerned about, and we hope that that the speedy transport of medicines and materials will be accompanied by speedy processing of necessary paperwork and inspection so that patients can access all their medicines safely and when they need them.
"Every company we have spoken to has put plans in place in line with, or in excess of government requirements."
“It’s important that patients do not try to stockpile their own medications as if this happens then it could lead to a serious shortage. If you have concerns about your own medicines please raise them directly with your own renal team.”
Health Minister Chris Skidmore added: “I want to ensure that when we leave the EU at the end of October, all appropriate steps have been taken to ensure frontline services are fully prepared. That’s why we are stepping up preparations and strengthening our already extremely resilient contingency plans. This express freight service sends a clear message to the public that our plans should ensure supply of medical goods remains uninterrupted as we leave the EU.”
The service will provide an additional level of contingency as part of necessary preparations to leave the EU on 31 October. This includes £434 million to help ensure continuity of vital medicines and medical products, including through freight capacity, warehousing and stockpiling.
The new service - which will be available to the whole of the UK - will support existing plans already in place, including:
- Building buffer stocks of medicines and medical products;
- Changing or clarifying regulatory requirements so that companies can continue to sell their products in the UK if we have no deal;
- Strengthening the process and resources used to deal with shortages;
- Procuring additional warehouse capacity; and
- Supporting companies to improve the readiness of their logistics and supply chains to meet the new customs and border requirements for both import and export
We will keep patients updated on any further developments on this. You can find out more about our work around Brexit here
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