Brexit Update: DHSC publishes EU Exit Operational Readiness Guidance

Brexit Update: DHSC publishes EU Exit Operational Readiness Guidance

December 21, 2018

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has today (December 21) written to all providers of NHS services, to highlight new EU Exit Operational Readiness Guidance.

The guidance has been developed with NHS England and NHS Improvement and will be sent to all health and care providers as part of the Department’s work to ramp up preparations for a possible no-deal Brexit.

The key messages for community pharmacies from DHSC are:

  • Community pharmacies do not need to take any action themselves regarding the medicines or clinical consumables supply at this time.
  • When asked, pharmacists and their teams should reassure patients that plans are in place to maintain continuity of supply of medicines and medical devices.
  • Work is underway with representative bodies, however, community pharmacies are asked to consider the impact of possible disruption to the supply of non-clinical goods and services and to understand the risks to activity if there is disruption in supply.*
  • Pharmacies are asked to ensure that staff are aware of the EU Settlement Scheme for health and care staff who are EU nationals and actively support them to apply. The scheme will then open fully in March 2019 and remain open until at least the end of 2020, so there will be plenty of time for EU staff to register. Further information can be viewed here.
  • Note that the current arrangements for reciprocal healthcare and for overseas visitors and migrant cost recovery will continue to operate until 29 March 2019. Any changes to charging policies will be communicated to contractors, following the outcome of negotiations relating to reciprocal healthcare.

*PSNC is supporting the Government’s Brexit planning and we are now working closely with the other national pharmacy organisations to consider what this guidance means in practice for community pharmacies. We will issue further advice for contractors in due course.

DHSC is focussing its contingency planning on seven key areas:

  • supply of medicines and vaccines;
  • supply of medical devices and clinical consumables;
  • supply of non-clinical consumables, goods and services;
  • workforce;
  • reciprocal healthcare;
  • research and clinical trials; and
  • data sharing, processing and access.

DHSC reports that it has set up a national Operational Response Centre which will lead on responding to any disruption to the delivery of health and care services that may be caused or affected by the UK’s exit from the EU.

Community pharmacies will continue to operate through their usual reporting mechanisms, and local NHS England and NHS Improvement teams will support them to resolve any local issues. Any issues will be escalated to regional level as required, and where issues are impacting the system at a national level the Operational Response Centre will coordinate information flows and responses.

For all the latest information on Brexit and community pharmacy, visit PSNC’s Brexit page at:

Read the DHSC Letter to All Providers and Commissioners of NHS Services

Read the EU Exit Operational Readiness Guidance

Visit the page containing all relevant information from DHSC


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