News ID: 259341
Published: 0603 GMT September 27, 2019

Brexit may have 'grave consequences' for UK healthcare: MP

Brexit may have 'grave consequences' for UK healthcare: MP

The UK’s public spending watchdog said on Friday that Britain’s looming exit from the EU carries real risks that medicines and healthcare supplies will be delayed, and an influential lawmaker said a no-deal Brexit may have the “gravest of consequences”.

While British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government has taken some steps to manage the risks, Presstv Reported.

The National Audit Office (NAO) said in a report that although UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government has taken some steps to manage the risks, there is still significant work to be done.

Meg Hillier, a Member of Parliament from the Labour Party who chairs the UK Parliament’s public accounts committee, said the report was “deeply concerning”.

She said the health ministry “still doesn’t know whether all stockpiles are in place” and has no idea whether social care providers such as nursing homes for the sick and elderly are ready.

“If (the) government gets this wrong, it could have the gravest of consequences,” Hillier said in a statement about the NAO report.

She added that as head of the committee, she had already seen “countless examples of deadlines missed and government failing”.

Johnson has vowed to take Britain out of the EU with or without a deal by October 31, increasing the chance of a sudden departure from the bloc that will bring trade tariffs and customs checks with the continent for the first time in decades.

The risk is severe for healthcare and social services, as well as for the pharmaceutical industry, with 37 million packs of medicines imported into the UK from the EU every month.

Britain’s Department for Health and Social Care has asked medical suppliers to build up stockpiles of medicines and other essentials and has found extra warehouse capacity for them.

Drug industry and patient representatives said the report’s findings were worrying.

“This report tells us ... that very little thought has been given to securing basic medical supplies such as bedpans and incontinence pads for people in social care in nursing homes,” said Alan Boyd of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges.

“Bluntly, that means the frail, elderly and most vulnerable could be hit the hardest. That cannot be right.”

Aisling Burnand, head of the Association of Medical Research Charities, said the report would cause “anxiety and worry”.

“Anxiety for people who are seriously ill or living with a long term condition is unwanted. They have many other things to worry about,” she said in a statement.



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