8 October 2019
Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) guidance for adult social care providers is available on the Government's website, issued in order to help the sector prepare for Brexit.
A recent National Audit Office (NAO) report found "significant" gaps in the health and social care sector's preparedness for a no-deal Brexit, including a lack of evidence that the social care sector was ready and concerns that it had not received enough Government support. Before 31 October, it said, there remains a significant amount to do to ensure that social care providers such as nursing homes are fully prepared.
The DHSC has issued guidance setting out the actions that should be taken before and after Brexit, to plan for and help manage any potential service disruption to adult social care if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
On a national level, the DHSC advises that the Government is working directly with suppliers and pharmaceutical companies to make sure there is a continued supply of medicines, medical devices and clinical consumables when the UK leaves the EU, and that service providers should not stockpile any medicines, medical devices or clinical consumables as this could cause shortages in other areas and put other service users at risk.
However, it does recommend certain actions before the UK leaves the EU. The DHSC says that if a social care organisation currently relies on receiving products from the EU with short lead times of 24 to 48 hours, they should plan for longer lead times of up to 5 days.
Providers are asked to make sure they are prepared to receive stock deliveries outside normal hours, and that they read more about what businesses supplying medicines and medical devices should do to prepare for a no-deal Brexit.
The Government is currently working with suppliers, providers and local authorities across the adult social care sector to support the continuity of supply of non-clinical goods and services, which include IT service agreements and infrastructure; waste management; facilities management; service maintenance contracts; laundry services and food and catering.
However, adult social care providers need to make sure they have included any risks and issues associated with the supply of these consumables, goods and services in their business continuity plan and/or contingency plan.
The Care Provider Alliance has issued a contingency plan template for use by adult social care providers. More information is available at: www.careprovideralliance.org.uk
DHSC advice also covers workforce issues, the EU Settlement Scheme, recognition of professional qualifications, and data sharing, processing and access.
There is a list of issues for which help is available, and contact details, together with an assurance that after Brexit day, if disruption to supplies is experienced or potential for disruption to social care services and no immediate resolution is available, this can be reported to the National Supply Disruption Response (NSDR). Contact details for the NSDR will be shared before the UK leaves the EU.
The NSDR can help with disruption to the supply of medicines and vaccines, medical devices and clinical consumables that normal procedures cannot resolve, and it does not matter whether or not the disruption is related to Brexit.
The DHSC advice is available at: www.gov.uk
Providers can also sign up for Governmental email alerts on Brexit at: www.gov.uk