Many of our patients rely on a variety of medicines to manage their conditions and we fully understand that many of you, and your carers, will be concerned about the supply of medicines in the event that the UK exits the EU without a trade deal at the end of the 11-month transition period.
The government has developed a UK-wide plan to make sure medicines and vaccines get into the UK from the EU. Pharmaceutical companies that supply the UK with medicines from, or via, the EU have been asked to ensure they have at least six weeks’ additional supply of medicines in the UK than they would normally have.
The actions we are taking
We are working closely with our NHS partners, our wholesalers and others to make sure we continue to have enough supplies of medicines for our patients.
We are in discussions with our suppliers, including our homecare delivery partners (organisations that deliver medicines directly to patients’ homes), to ensure they have good arrangements in place for a 'no deal' trade agreement.
We are also working with suppliers of products used in clinical trials, compassionate use programmes and managed access schemes, to make sure there are plans in place.
The government has advised that hospitals and patients should not stockpile medicines and that doctors should not write NHS prescriptions for longer than necessary.
How you can help
As usual, make sure you have enough ‘buffer stock’ by keeping at least two to four weeks’ worth of your medicines at all times (as advised by your clinical team), and requesting repeat prescriptions or homecare deliveries well in advance of this supply running out. That will give your pharmacy or homecare provider enough time to deal with any shortages should they arise.
It’s important to note that this is standard practice for our patients and not new advice.
If you have concerns
Occasionally, the NHS does experience temporary disruption to the supply of some medicines, and we have tried-and-tested ways of making sure you get medicines and medical products, even under difficult circumstances.
If you are experiencing any difficulty getting hold of a supply of your medicines, or if you have any concerns about their availability, please let the pharmacy team know as soon as possible by contacting our medicines helpline by email – firstname.lastname@example.org – or by calling 020 7351 8901 between 10am and 5pm, Monday to Friday. Outside these hours, a voicemail service is available for you to leave your contact details and the team will contact you the next working day.
If you have specific enquiries about individual products, please contact the Department of Health and Social Care on 020 7210 4850.
More details are available on the government website and NHS England's website, including information on medicines, the preparations the NHS is taking and frequently asked questions.