Responding to the National Audit Office’s report Exiting the EU: supplying the health and social care sectors, Dr Layla McCay, director of international relations at the NHS Confederation, said:
“The biggest insight this report gives us is just how detailed the government’s health-related Brexit preparations have been. At this stage, the evidence is reassuring that much of what is needed for supplying the NHS is in place.
“But still the report identifies that uncertainties remain and, as we have warned, it is the unknowns and unknowables that present the biggest risk.
“The government still lacks insight into the level of readiness of around a third of the UK’s medicine and medical device/clinical consumable suppliers, and freight procurement is clearly working to very tight timescales without margin for unpredictable error.
“Alarm bells should be ringing loudly about the fact the government knows very little about the readiness of the 24,000 social care providers in England alone.
“This report is also a reminder that the effects of Brexit cannot be managed by the UK by itself - decisions made by the EU, such as what sort of customs checks to immediately impose on medical goods, will have a significant impact on delays on both sides of the border.”