The government is conducting a range of procurement exercises to help plan for freight capacity in the event of a no-deal Brexit. These exercises, led by the Department of Health and Social Care, will be a bid to secure an express freight service. The goal is to transport medical supply consignments within 24 hours into the UK if “Brexit without a deal” occurs.
The focus of the procurement exercises is to ensure and support an uninterrupted medical product supply when there is an urgent need. It can also help to limit the risk if a supplier’s logistic plans are interrupted.
Further plans for a freight capacity framework are also being introduced as a way to secure critical supply chains. Medicines and medicinal products are considered a priority for all procurement and supply chains.
This procurement exercise is part of a wider government plan to improve supply chains and minimise any potential disruption, such as the implications of a no-deal Brexit. The focus is not only of freight capacity but also creating buffer stocks where they are needed. These buffer stocks will be for medicines, blood and transplants, vaccines and clinical consumables. They will also include supplies for clinical trials and medical devices.
As well as buffer stocks, the government also has to consider the additional warehouse space they require, the readiness levels of suppliers and traders in the industry as well as any changes in regulatory requirements that may occur through a no-deal. Another risk factor is shortages, and the government is planning the necessary arrangements and protocols should shortages arise.
The government continues to state that obtaining a deal when leaving the EU remains a priority. However, the Department of Health and Social Care are continuing to coordinate contingency measures to ensure patient care is not at risk.