The chief medical officer for NHS Scotland has described what measures the service is taking to ensure it will have enough equipment in the event of a no-deal Brexit, which would see the UK leave the EU without a formal agreement.
Dr Catherine Calderwood warned that access to medical supplies, including equipment and medicine, could be “problematic” after the UK leaves the EU next year.
Much of the equipment the NHS buys in is manufactured in Europe and NHS managers in England said that a lack of planning for Brexit and its implications could impact on the health service.
Dr Calderwood told BBC Radio Scotland that the NHS in Scotland has been “working very closely with [its] colleagues in the Department of Health in England”.
She added: “We have some very detailed plans, a report of what might be problematic to access, and we will be working again very closely with the Department of Health to ensure that there are enough medicines for us in Scotland.”
The plans include ensuring hospital equipment will still be available after Brexit, even in the event of a ‘no-deal’ exit.
When asked by the BBC if these plans included “stockpiling” equipment ahead of March 2019, Dr Calderwood said: “The plans that we have discussed involve ensuring that there is a supply of medicines.
“That will mean having those available within the UK, and particularly us in Scotland having our own supplies.”
Earlier in the week a group representing hospitals and ambulance services in England warned of the impact a no-deal Brexit could have on the health service if there is a lack of contingency planning among health chiefs.
The Government maintained that the NHS is preparing for “the unlikely event of no-deal”, but is confident of reaching an agreement with Brussels.