PEOPLE are being told not to stockpile medicines in the event of a no deal Brexit.

Some delays are expected with four levels of risk from low to critical identified.

The Chief Medical Officer for Scotland, Catherine Calderwood and Chief Pharmaceutical Officer, Rose Marie Parr, have outlined the plans being put in place in preparation for delays at ports.

In a letter to NHS boards and health organisations, the officials state a no deal exit from the EU “will cause delays and very likely a slow-down in the flow of medicines and medical supplies into the UK.”

However, they said: “Members of the public, GPs, community pharmacies, hospitals and social care providers should not stockpile.  Prescriptions should be issued as normal.” 

Ms Calderwood and Ms Parr said steps have been taken to build stockholdings of medicines, medical devices and clinical consumables in the UK. 

Drug companies and NHS suppliers have been asked to ensure they have an extra six weeks worth of supplies.

Four scenarios have been detailed for shortages of medicines and clinical equipment that could arise.

They are Level One, Low impact, with supply problems of up to one month that can be managed.

Level Two, medium impact where patients may need to be switched to alternative medicine, which may be unlicensed.

Level Three, high impact, where there are limited no alternatives or none in the same class and for patients where medicine is lifesaving like anaphylaxis or involving patient groups considered as vulnerable, such as neonates, paediatrics or people with learning disabilities .

Level Four, critical impact, where there is no viable therapeutic alternative and where responses may also require support from outside the health system and / or which trigger the use of national resilience structures.

Health Secretary Jeanne Freeman said the situation will be managed by the Scottish NHS.

She said: “The reality is the supply of medicines and medical devices to Scotland will be impacted if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, meaning there is a risk of shortages.

“As a responsible government we are doing all we can to prepare as much as possible for the consequences of ‘no deal’.

“If the UK leaves the EU without a deal and some shortages occur, the NHS will manage the situation and, if necessary, provide advice on suitable alternatives or other treatment options while supply is restored to normal levels.”