Lincolnshire hospital bosses: ‘No direct impact’ on services despite ‘high risk’ no-deal Brexit

Hospital bosses in Lincolnshire are confident there will not be a ‘direct impact’ on services due to a no-deal Brexit – despite it remaining a ‘high risk’ situation.

Louth County Hospital.

United Lincolnshire’s Hospital Trust board members were reassured by Chief Operating Officer Mark Brassington, that although there were some key areas to keep an eye on, the “risks nationally and locally have not changed”.

He said: “At this moment in time with all the planning we’ve put in place we don’t envisage any direct impact on the organisation.

“This is because with all of the information we’ve received from national and regional teams and all the things that are in place, we believe we will secure the supply of medicines and equipment we need in our organisation.

“There’s a range of things at a national level where they have looked at the supply of medicines and where they come from and how confident we are they will still be able to flow into our country.”

The areas for watching include the supply and movement of medicine and movement of it through various organisations through a national memorandum of understanding.

Health organisations have been told in national government plans that the prescribing and storage behaviours for medicines and medical devices should not change.

It is thought that stockpiling by both NHS organisations and patients may cause further delays; however, organisations such as the Royal Pharmaceutical Society have raised concerns about a shortage of medicine already taking place as Brexit approaches.

The impact of a no-deal Brexit on the trust’s workforce, said Mr Brassington, was not yet clear and shortages were not planned for - but there were concerns over the availability of short-term staff and locums.

Mr Brassington said: “If there is a change in available short-term staff such as locums, as an organisation we’d be disproportionately affected because of high level of agency staff that we rely on to deliver services. At the moment that’s not envisaged but something to be mindful of.

“It could be an emerging risk rather than something we’re planning for at this moment in time.”

Mr Brassington told board members that the trust was working through any changes that might need to be made in regards to the reciprocal arrangements with the EU over hospital visits, but said that at the moment no additional costs were expected. 

He said it would be the trust’s responsibility to recover any of those costs and that plans were being created as to what the scale would be and if any additional people would be needed.

In response to news that some medicines may be delivered through Immingham ports in a bid to ease pressure on the Dover Strait, he said the trust were working with colleagues at North Lincolnshire and Goole Hospitals Trust, but that there was no envisaged impact there either, especially as most staff lived within Lincolnshire.

He reassured members that Brexit-critical areas of the trust’s business case were up-to-date, and said organisations continue to meet on a regular basis to monitor risks.