The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has called on the Prime Minister to ‘include provision for different flu scenarios’ in his no-deal Brexit strategy, the membership body announced today (22 August).

In a letter signed by 16 other health organisations including the royal colleges of GPs and nursing, RPS president Sandra Gidley said the Government must prepare for the 31 October exit date coinciding with flu season.

The letter said: ‘The need for preparedness is compounded by the fact that we are scheduled to leave the EU, potentially on a no-deal basis, just as flu and the winter season begins.

‘Even a “moderate” flu season places significant additional pressure on the NHS. Your EU exit strategy must include provision for different flu scenarios, and the secretary of state is well placed to coordinate that.’

Ms Gidley added that the health secretary Matt Hancock should have a seat on the Brexit strategy committee to ensure healthcare is ‘at the heart’ of negotiations.


‘Significant concerns about shortages’


The letter added that healthcare bodies currently feel ‘unable to reassure patients’ that Brexit will not have a detrimental impact on their health and care.

It said: ‘Despite welcome ongoing engagement with DHSC, we still have significant concerns about shortages of medical supplies.

‘Delays at our borders could exacerbate current supply issues and create the very real possibility that life-saving medication and devices are delayed from making it into the UK.’

Earlier this week, the RPS warned that the Government’s no-deal Brexit contingency plans are not enough to prevent medicines shortages.


‘Huge consequences’


As an employer of over 1.2 million people and provider of one billion prescriptions every year, the NHS must be included in no-deal negotiations as a matter of ‘urgency’, the letter added.

It said: ‘The implications of a no-deal exit from the EU for the NHS and wider health and care system must be considered at the highest levels of your government’s decision making.

‘If not properly planned for, even the smallest of problems could have huge consequences for the lives and wellbeing of millions of people and our economy.’