Statement on preparations for Brexit

24 September 2019

Our members will have been following the regular political news emanating from Westminster. As matters stand, we are still having to plan for a potential Brexit on 31 October, although recent legal and legislative moves make that less certain than in previous weeks. Alison Pittard, as Dean Elect, and Danny Bryden, as Vice Dean Elect, have attended two high level briefings with NHS England on Brexit preparations. Whatever the personal view of members on the positives or negatives of the position we are in, we must all prepare effectively for what is likely to prove to be a difficult transition period. The briefing updated on the work the NHS centrally has done to agree alternative contracts with key suppliers and alternative (non-Dover) routes for delivery. However, there remain several unknowns, including the implication this will have on the NHS workforce. Further briefings are planned in October. The main message of the briefings was that there will be enough supplies in place (including vaccines) as long as clinician and patient behaviour do not significantly change.  For example, stockpiling could imbalance a delicate system over winter.


Today we have co-signed an Academy of Medical Royal College’s statement highlighting our considerable joint concerns for patients following a potential No Deal Brexit, which is available here,and references the Supreme Court verdict today.


If Brexit does go ahead on 31 October, it will be just as the worst of our winter pressures begin, potentially worsened this year with the impact of the significant flu season that has already affected Australia and New Zealand. We are sure across units, Health Boards, Trusts and Networks you are already readying yourself for these impending pressures, familiarising yourself in depth with relevant surge plans and other emergency procedures. One thing we know that we can rely on in critical care is the team ethic to kick in – both supporting fellow units in your immediate geography, but also looking out for each other’s wellbeing in times of stress.