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Will UK Health Trusts Stockpile Equipment Ahead Of Brexit?

Despite Theresa May this week announcing that she has hashed out a withdrawal agreement with European leaders, there is still much speculation about what a Brexit deal will look like, or whether the UK will get one.

A recent article for the Health Service Journal suggested that NHS trusts could be advised to stockpile certain medical equipment in case there is a no-deal Brexit.

The news provider cited David Wathey, head of supply resilience and sustainability at the Department of Health and Social Care, who said that the government is consulting with national clinical leads to decide what products it would be “beneficial” to gain extra stocks of.

Mr Wathey stated: “Our aim is to ensure continuity of supply of all medical devices and clinical consumables.”

He added that they understand the risks involved with “trying to substitute products in a clinical environment”, noting that this is a scenario they want to avoid. He also stressed that the government wouldn’t be advising every organisation to increase their stock levels because this would potentially put too much pressure on supply chains.

To help decide what products and equipment it might be necessary to stockpile, the department is working with a small group of suppliers, trade associations and government officials. They’re talking about the plans that will ensure a continuous supply to the country’s health service, particularly of items that might need to be supplied within 24 to 72 hours.

In the event of short-term shortages, medical equipment hire might be an option for the NHS to consider.

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