No-deal Brexit could cause ‘fatal’ medicine shortages, according to health union leaders

People protesting against Boris Johnson's proroguing of parliament
Support us and go ad-free

A joint statement from 11 medical bodies and unions has appealed to the government to reject a no-deal Brexit. The statement follows prime minister Boris Johnson’s move to suspend parliament ahead of the EU exit date on 31 October.

Signatories include members of the British Medical Association (BMA), the Royal College of Nursing, Royal College of Midwives, GMB Union, Unite, and Unison. It warns that medicine shortages as a result of a no-deal could be ‘fatal’:

Many medicines, including life-saving agents for cancer diagnosis and therapy, cannot be stockpiled and, for those that can, stockpiles could run out.

These kinds of shortages and delays can be fatal. No responsible government should take that risk.

The statement also highlighted the economic impact a no-deal Brexit would have on the NHS:

Treasury assessments show that a no-deal scenario would shrink our economy by £90bn, reducing the money available for the NHS…

With waiting times rising, operations being cancelled and yet another winter crisis looming, the health service cannot weather a long-term economic shock.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free
Warnings from healthcare professionals

Earlier in August, the heads of 17 health charities and colleges sent a letter to the PM highlighting the impact of a no-deal Brexit on patients. In it, they appealed to the PM to “put patient safety and protecting the nation’s health at the heart of Brexit negotiations”.

In response to the recent proroguing of parliament, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, council chair of BMA, has warned against the dangers of a no-deal Brexit. He told the Independent:

From our invaluable EU workforce to the supply of vital medicines… there is practically no area of health that will be unaffected if we crash out without a deal.

A government document recently leaked to the media revealed emergency planning in the case of medicine shortages. Meanwhile, a spokesperson from the Department of Health and Social Care has said:

We are taking all appropriate steps, meaning our plans should ensure the supply of medicines and medical products remains uninterrupted when we leave the EU.

And a no-deal Brexit also threatens the supply of the flu vaccine.  The Canary recently reported how medicine shortages are already starting to affect patients. So with winter approaching, shortage of the flu vaccine is likely to increase strain on the NHS.

Featured image via Flickr – Garry Knight / Marco Verch Professional

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us
  • Show Comments
    1. This is just one example of the way in which Britain’s manufacturing industries have been sold off .

      No sector has been left untouched. We were first to work out the structure of insulin we developed antibiotics. Now we face shortages of these drugs if we cannot import them from Europe.

      We need to re-build our manufacturing base more than we need to remain in the EU.

    Leave a Reply

    Join the conversation

    Please read our comment moderation policy here.