Pharmacists and GPs are being encouraged to reassure patients that they do not need to order extra medication as the Brexit transition period nears its end.

In a joint statement published yesterday (17 December) PSNC and the British Medical Association yesterday also reminded health professionals to avoid stockpiling medicines locally.

The statement explained that national plans are in place to ‘ensure continuity of supply’, and patients ordering additional mediation could ‘contribute to or cause supply problems’.

Healthcare professionals are also reminded that NHS England and Improvement (NHSE&1) will be monitoring and investigating prescriptions ‘where necessary’ so to ‘keep prescribing and dispensing as close to business as usual as possible’, the statement said.

If medicine shortages or disruptions do occur after the end of the transition period on 31 December, GP practice staff and community pharmacy teams will ‘need to work together to make sure that all patients continue to have access to the medicines they need when they need them,’ it added.

The two bodies said: ‘Community pharmacies will do all that they can to ensure that patients do have access to the medicines they need. These efforts may include phoning around suppliers, ‘staged’ dispensing (owings), or considering potential alternative treatments.’

This comes as Britain prepares for the possibility of a no-deal Brexit.

In August, the Government warned healthcare professionals that ‘significant’ medicine disruptions could take place for several months after 1 January, due to new checks and bureaucracy at the short crossings between the UK and France.

Steve Oldfield, chief commercial officer at the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said medicine suppliers should stockpile six weeks’ worth of drugs as a safeguard against ‘possible disruptions’.

Last month, the Pharmacist reported that community pharmacy teams in England, Scotland and Wales will no longer be required by law to verify and decommission unique identifiers on prescription medicine packs after the Brexit transition period ends.

Local pharmaceutical committees (LPCs) have also recently expressed concern about the impact the UK’s exit from the European Union will have on pharmacies in England.