Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents organisations across the healthcare sector, said:
“Patients must not suffer as a result of the Brexit process. Even if there is no deal we cannot have no agreement about how to protect patients in the UK and across Europe.
“We are therefore calling on both the UK government and the European Commission to guarantee patient safety whatever happens. That means free movement of medicines, free movement of medical devices and supplies for as long as it takes to resolve these concerns.
“While we welcome no deal preparations made by the UK Government, this is an issue for both London and Brussels. We have seen the EU is willing to make arrangements in a number of areas – including finance. We now need to see the same urgency from both sides on health.
“This is an unprecedented situation for the health service. Of course, the NHS can adapt to emergencies, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t seek to avoid them. No deal and no arrangements to protect patients is simply not acceptable and could put lives at risk.”