Department of Health (NI) EU Exit Operational Readiness Guidance

Last updated 25 November 2020

Department of Health (NI) EU Exit Operational Readiness Guidance

Purpose

This updated Department of Health (DoH) Northern Ireland EU Exit Operational Readiness Guidance follows the previous guidance issued on 28 August 2019.  It lists the actions that health and social care organisations/providers in Northern Ireland should take in preparation for the End of the Transition Period (EOTP) on 31st December 2020. 

This guidance has been sent to all health and social care organisations, including independent providers, to ensure that the health and care system as a whole is prepared.  All are advised to use this guidance as a prompt to review and update their own contingency plans for the possibility of a ‘no deal’ scenario at the end of the EU exit transition period on 31st December 2020.  Further advice will be provided as required.

For further information on EU transition please refer to the Department of Health website and the UK Government website.

Overview

This guidance provides a general update on EU planning with advice for HSC organisations/providers plus action cards in Annex A.

The Department’s contingency planning is focused in three areas:

  1. Healthcare supply chain including medicines, vaccines, radiopharmaceuticals, clinical trials, medical devices, clinical consumables, non-clinical consumables, oxygen, blood, organs and tissues, shortages.
  2. Access to healthcare / movement of people; and,
  3. Data transfer.

 

 

Emergency Preparedness

The structures that are currently operating within the HSC for the Covid-19 emergency response will be used to support organisations/providers responding to any disruption to health and social care services in Northern Ireland, which may be caused or affected by EU exit.

Organisations should already have systems in place to identify issues that arise related to EU exit and to disseminate information or concerns upwards to inform Situation Reports (SitRep).  Two strategic cells for healthcare supplies and EU transition have been established within the Department to support these arrangements.

This approach will enable the Department, in conjunction with HSC partners, to manage any disruption to critical health and social care services and assist the return to normality for the DoH and HSC organisations when pragmatic and safe to do so.

 

General Update and Advice

The End of the Transition Period (EOTP)

The United Kingdom left the European Union on 31st January 2020 and moved into a transition period which ends on 31st December 2020.  The transition period will not be extended. 

The UK Government and EU Commission are still involved in negotiations to secure a free trade agreement and there is the possibility that a deal may not be fully confirmed by the EOTP. 

This means that the preparations that your organisation were advised to put in place for a ‘no deal’ scenario in August 2019 are likely to be still relevant.

 

 

The Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol

The Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol (NIP) comes into effect on 1st January 2021 and will require long term changes in the healthcare supply chain relating to the regulation and supply of medicines and medical devices in Northern Ireland. 

At the fourth meeting of the Ireland/Northern Ireland Specialised Committee on 5 November 2020, the UK Government and the EU Commission reached an agreement to allow the pharmaceutical industry twelve months from 1 January 2021 to comply with new regulatory requirements which apply only to NI and are a consequence of the NIP.

This means that changes needed for compliance by 31st December 2021 will now be phased in and are not expected to have an immediate impact on healthcare supplies at the EOTP. 

During 2021, the Department will continue to work with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) in respect of the NIP.  In this regard the Department’s priority will be that our people continue to have access to medicines on an equitable basis with other UK citizens.

Movement of goods between GB and NI

There will be changes to the way that goods move between Great Britain and Northern Ireland from 1 January 2021. A free Trader Support Service (TSS) has been established to provide support for suppliers and haulage companies where they move goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, or bring goods into Northern Ireland from outside the UK.  The TSS is free to use and will guide businesses through any changes to the way goods move between Great Britain and Northern Ireland and complete declarations on their behalf.

Healthcare products are recognised as category one goods and it is essential that their transit from Great Britain to Northern Ireland is not delayed by changes after 1 January 2021. 

 

Healthcare Supply Chain

 

  • Extensive national plans are now in place to mitigate possible disruption to medical supplies that could arise in the English Channel short straits, from a ‘no deal’ scenario.

 

  • On 3rd August and 17th November 2020 the UK Government set out its plan and requests of the pharmaceutical industry and wider medicines supply chain ahead of the EOTP to help ensure the continuity of supply of healthcare goods into and out of the UK.

 

  • A multi-layered approach is being adopted, with suppliers asked to put in place flexible mitigation and readiness plans in preparation for new border and customs procedures.

 

 

  • After the EOTP the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) will continue to regulate medicines and medical devices on behalf of NI.

 

Medicines, vaccines, radiopharmaceuticals

  • The national plan covers all medicines and vaccines used by patients and service users and health and social care providers, including private providers in all four nations of the UK. In addition stock levels of centrally-procured vaccines held in NI have been increased.

 

  • Air freight arrangements are in place to ensure that supply of radiopharmaceuticals to Northern Ireland will not be disrupted after the EOTP.

Research and clinical trials

EU research and innovation funding schemes

 

  • The UKG has guaranteed funding committed to UK organisations for certain EU funded projects. This includes the payment of awards where UK organisations successfully bid directly to the EU while we remain in the EU, and the payment of awards where UK organisations are able to successfully bid to participate as a third country after Exit, until the end of 2020.

 

  • This means that successful bids for EU programme funding until the end of 2020 will receive their full financial allocation for the lifetime of the project.

 

  • Beyond the 1 January 2021, it is now likely that there will be alternative measures to support UK researchers. Negotiations around the Horizon Europe scheme have not yet completed, but as most health research falls under Pillar 2, it is the intention of the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy  (BEIS) to provide an effective underwrite for any funding streams for which UK researchers are eligible, which will be managed through UK Research & Innovation. The UKG is also considering alternative UK-based funding schemes.

 

Clinical networks

 

  • UK clinicians will be required to leave European Reference Networks (ERNs) on exit day. However, the UK will seek to strengthen and build new bilateral and multilateral relationships – including with the EU – to ensure clinical expertise is maintained in the UK.

 

  • No action is required at this stage. Further information will be communicated to the HSC and professional bodies in due course.

 

Clinical trials and clinical investigations

 

  • After the EOTP the UK Government will monitor clinical trials or clinical investigations impacted due to disruptions to clinical trial supplies. Organisations should therefore continue to participate in and/or recruit patients to clinical trials and clinical investigations, unless they receive information to the contrary from a trial sponsor, organisation managing the trial or clinical investigation, or from formal communications.

 

  • Investigational medicinal products (IMPs) will be covered by the regulatory importation requirements under IMP like all medicines. The agreement with the EU on phased implementation of these regulations will also apply to IMPs.

 

  • DHSC continues to engage with the life sciences industry regarding contract research clinical trials of IMPs and medical devices. The Department is working closely with DHSC and the other devolved administrations to assess the potential impact of EU exit on clinical trials and investigations and to gain a greater understanding of those which might be affected by supply issues. This includes examining Investigational Medicinal Products, medical devices, in vitro diagnostic devices, advanced therapy medicinal products, radioisotopes and other clinical consumables which originate from, or travel through, the EU and EEA. All organisations participating in and/or recruiting patients to clinical trials or clinical investigations in the UK should contact their relevant trial sponsors for confirmation of the plans for supply chains for IMPs and medical devices as soon as possible.

 

Clinical trial regulation

 

Medical devices and clinical consumables

  • The Business Services Organisation Procurement and Logistics Services (BSO PaLS) has stockpiled additional supplies and there is no need for health and social care providers to hold additional centrally supplied medical devices and clinical consumables, beyond business as usual stock levels.

 

  • Information has already been provided to the HSC to assist in determining the need to secure additional supplies of products, not centrally supplied.

 

  • Any queries relating to medical devices and clinical consumables provided by BSO PaLS should be sent to your usual contact.

 

  • If your organisation receives medical devices and clinical consumables from other suppliers, you should contact them directly with any queries as you would normally do.

 

  • After the EOTP medical devices on the NI market shall continue to require a CE mark and to be in compliance with the relevant EU requirements.

 

  • The EU Medical Device Regulation (MD) (2017/745) and the In vitro Diagnostic Medical Device (IVD) Regulation (2017/746) are to be fully implemented in NI from May 2021 and May 2022 respectively. 

 

  • The advice of circular HSC (SQSD) 16/19 as to the requirements on Health Institutions in relation to these regulations and in particular, the in-house manufacture of medical devices, the provision of implant cards to patients, and the recording (preferably electronically) of Unique Device Identifiers for class III medical devices will be applicable from when these regulations are implemented.

Non-clinical consumables, goods and services

  • The Department and BSO PaLS has identified a range of national suppliers for non-clinical consumables, goods and services that it is reviewing and managing at a UK level. Examples of relevant categories include food and laundry services. 

 

  • The Department, through BSO PaLS, is engaging with suppliers and industry experts to identify and plan for any supply disruption.  Where necessary, there will be cross-government work to implement arrangements at the point of EU Exit to ensure continued supply.

 

  • On food, for example, the Department through BSO PaLS is engaging with both suppliers and health experts to identify and plan for any food items that might suffer supply disruption in the event of a ‘no deal’. Standard guidelines will be developed for health and social care providers on suitable substitutions arrangements for any food items identified as being at risk.

Oxygen

  • The regional bulk oxygen supplier for Northern Ireland manufactures its liquid oxygen in the Republic of Ireland. The supplier has confirmed that there are no anticipated disruptions in supply related to EU exit.

Blood, organs and tissues

  • The UK is self-sufficient in Blood, Tissue and Organs and Northern Ireland is mostly self-sufficient in blood. We are not expecting disruption to supply due to the EOTP but the implications of traffic and port delay on those occasional blood supplies from the GB are recognised.

 

  • The EU Exit regulations including amendments embed relevant EU law in domestic law to enable the current standards to continue to apply in the UK, and allow for competent authorities to make regulation in relation to safety and quality in these areas. They also directly apply the three EU Directives on Blood, Tissue and Organs safety and quality that will continue to apply to Northern Ireland under the Northern Ireland Protocol.

 

  • Full guidance for establishments will be provided by the UK regulators and they will work with licensed / authorised establishments in Northern Ireland to support them as needed to prepare for 1 January 2021.      

 

 

Shortages

  • Extensive national arrangements are now in place for the monitoring of the healthcare supply chain through the National Stock Disruption Response Service (NSDR).

 

  • A number of UK wide shortage response groups have been established including dedicated Medicines and Medical Devices Shortage Response Groups. DoH is involved in the different national groups linking to the strategic supplies cell. In addition a NI Medicines Shortage Advisory Group has been established to provide support to the HSC on the management of medicines shortages. 

 

  • When needed, Supply Disruption Alerts will provide advice to prescribers, service providers and suppliers about managing medicines or device shortages. There are also other measures that may be used in response to shortages including the prohibition of medicines exports and “Serious Shortage Protocols” that allow flexibility in primary care dispensing of medicines.

 

Summary advice for healthcare organisations/providers – Healthcare supplies

  • Extensive national contingencies are in place to ensure healthcare supplies
  • There is no need for local stockpiling of medicines or medical products unless advised to do so by the Department
  • Patients and carers can be advised that they do not need to order additional prescription medicines
  • Prescribers do not need to prescribe additional quantities and should not exceed 56 days’ supply
  • All HSC organisations/providers should have arrangements in place to manage shortages of supplies should they arise
  • The Department will provide advice on handling shortages if they occur to ensure continuity of care for patients

 

Access to Health Care / Movement of People

Movement of People

  • The current expectation is that there will not be a significant number of health and social care staff leaving at the EOTP. Organisations can escalate concerns through existing reporting mechanisms to ensure there is regional and national oversight.

 

  • There is no anticipated cross border disruption within Ireland. Normal business continuity plans will apply and the Department’s assessment is that these should be sufficient to cope with any unforeseen incidents that arise.  The Department will keep this position under review. 

Citizens’ Rights

  • The EU Withdrawal Agreement has solidified citizens’ rights for all of those EU citizens in the UK (and vice versa) before the end of transition. This means that all EU nationals that are in the UK before 31 December 2020 have the right to continue to live and work, have their qualifications recognized and continue to access healthcare on the same basis as now.

 

  • The Department is working with DHSC and others to fully understand what the agreement means for EU citizens and how rights might be assessed and supported.

 

EU Settlement Scheme

  • The EU Settlement Scheme deadline for applications is 30 June 2021.  By this date all EU citizens who have been in the UK before 31 December 2020, who wish to regularise their immigration status in the UK, should have applied.

 

 

 

Immigration

  • From 1 January 2021 free movement is ending, and the new points-based immigration system will introduce job, salary and language requirements that will change the way you hire from the EU.

 

Health and Care Visa

  • The new Health and Care Visa has been launched, creating a new fast-track visa route for eligible health and care professionals.  It is designed to make it easier and quicker for global health professionals to work in the HSC, for HSC commissioned service providers, and in eligible occupations in the social care sector.

 

  • The new Health and Care Visa will come with a reduced visa application fee, including exemption from the Immigration Health Surcharge.  Health and care professionals applying by this route can also expect a decision on whether they can work in the UK within just three weeks, following biometric enrolment.

Common Travel Area

  • After the EOTP Irish citizens in the UK and British citizens in the Republic of Ireland, who are living and working there, will continue to have the same associated rights and entitlements to public services, including access to employment, healthcare, education, social welfare and benefits, as well as the right to vote in certain elections.

 

 

 

Reciprocal healthcare

 

  • The UK and Ireland are also working towards an enduring reciprocal healthcare agreement which will allow residents of the UK and Ireland to access healthcare when visiting the other country under certain agreed conditions.

Future relationship with the EU

  • Professional regulation (recognition of professional qualifications) and Reciprocal healthcare are part of the UK EU future relationship negotiations.  Updates will be provided on these areas when they are available.

 

 

Summary advice for healthcare organisations/providers  - Access to Healthcare/Movement of people

  • The current expectation is that there;
  • will not be a significant number of HSC staff leaving at the EOTP
  • will be no anticipated cross border disruption between NI and ROI

 

  • The EU Withdrawal Agreement solidifies citizens’ rights for all of those EU citizens in the UK, and EU Frontier workers before EOTP including the right to continue to live and work, have their qualifications recognized and access healthcare on the same basis as now

 

  • From 1 January 2021 free movement is ending, the new points-based immigration system will treat EU and non-EU citizens equally and change the way you recruit from outside the UK

 

 

Data Transfer

Data Transfer Risks

  • It is imperative that personal data continues to flow between the UK, EU and EEA member states, where necessary following the UK’s departure from the EU.

 

  • Transfers of personal data from the UK to the EU/EEA should not be affected in a “No Deal Scenario”. It would continue to be lawful under domestic legislation for health and social care organisations to transfer personal data to EU/EEA and adequate third countries, as is the case now.
  • However at the point of transition, the UK may not be deemed by the EU as an “adequate” country, as the EU may not at that point have completed an adequacy assessment for the UK and therefore it may not be added to the list of adequate third countries by the end of the transition period.
  • This would mean the transfer of personal data from the EU/EEA to the UK will be restricted unless other conditions under GDPR (Chapter V) can be met. 
  • The Department, HSC and NIFRS have been engaged in preparation for EU Exit and the impact on personal data transfer arrangements upon which many of their services, particularly cross border, rely. Contracts and current administrative agreements/ MoUs have been reviewed to ensure appropriate mitigations are in place to enable data to continue to be shared, (mainly on the basis of the addition of Standard Contractual Clauses (SCCs) into existing contracts).

 

  • A judgement by the EU Court of Justice in July 2020 (referred to as the Schrems II Judgement) invalidated the US Privacy Shield adequacy decision and raised potential future concerns over the validity of Standard Contractual Clauses. If in the future the EU raises concerns as to the ability of UK laws to provide an appropriate level of protection for personal data transferred, this may compromise EU to UK transfers based on SCCs.

 

  • Failure to secure EU acceptance of existing mitigations, using SCCs is relevant to HSC cross border services that rely on timely exchange of personal, sensitive information The NICS awaits further guidance from DCMS.

 

  • Mitigation plans on Data Transfers are in place, and continue to be regularly reviewed but the majority rely on the use of SCCs within updated contracts and administrative agreements.  DoH issued an Assurance Checklist in July 2019, October 2019 and July 2020 to Arms-Length Bodies (ALBs), seeking assurances that data transfer mitigation plans are in place and can be evidenced. 

 

 

Summary advice for healthcare organisations/providers – Data transfer

  • HSC organisations have provided assurances on mitigations to ensure patient and service user information can be exchanged with EU partners. These mitigations should be kept under review
  • Please refer to recent guidance issued by DoH on behalf of DoF based on DCMS guidance, on mitigating Data Protection Risks Associated with a No Deal EU Exit, to DoH and ALBs, Department of Finance Guidance for NICS Departments, ALBs and wider public sector.

 

 

Annex A – Action Cards

 

Card

Audience

1

All HSC organisations/providers:

  • HSC Trusts
  • Independent providers of health and social care services
  • GP practices
  • Health service dentists
  • Community pharmacies
  • Optometrists
  • NIBTS

2

Health and Social Care Board, Public Health Agency, Business Services Organisation Procurement and Logistics Service

 

 

Card 1 – Action Card for all HSC Providers

Role

All providers of HSC services – including HSC Trusts, primary care and independent sector organisations who provide HSC services – must consider and plan for the risks that have the potential to arise due to EU exit.

All organisations should continue with their business continuity planning, taking into account this guidance, incorporating local risk assessments, and escalating any points of concern on specific issues through normal channels.

Actions required

Local EU Exit readiness preparations

Risk assessment and business continuity planning

  • Review and update internal assessment of risks associated with ‘no deal’ EU Exit, covering, but not be limited to:
      • The key areas identified nationally and detailed below.
      • Potential increases in demand associated with winter and Covid-19.
      • Locally specific risks resulting from EU exit.
  • Continue normal business continuity planning taking into account the instructions in this guidance and working with wider system partners to ensure plans across the health and social care system are robust.
  • Where possible, test existing business continuity and incident management plans against EU exit risk assessment scenarios to ensure these are fit for purpose.

 

Communications and escalation

All organisations to:

  • Ensure your Board or management is sighted on EU Exit preparation and take steps to raise awareness amongst staff.

Reporting, assurance and information

HSC Trusts to:

  • Be aware that if additional reporting is required, DoH will provide further guidance on requirements.
  • For queries relating to specific areas in this guidance, please contact the relevant departmental officials. Any immediate risks or concerns about provision of HSC service continuity should be escalated to the HSCB in the first instance via normal channels.
  • Trusts should also ensure that there is appropriate engagement with key external suppliers of services, such as care homes, to confirm they have appropriate contingency measures in place including systems to escalate areas of concern to the Trust. 

Family Health Practitioners:

  • Any immediate risks or concerns about provision of HSC service continuity should be escalated to the HSCB in the first instance.

Independent Health Care / Third Sector Organisations:

  • Any immediate risks or concerns about provision of HSC service continuity should be escalated to the organisation with whom you hold the contract, in most cases, this will be the appropriate HSC Trust.

 

Supply of medicines and vaccines

All health and social care providers to:

  • Follow the advice not to stockpile medicines.
  • No clinician should write longer prescriptions for patients.
  • Ensure that systems are in place to manage shortages of medicines and other healthcare supplies.
  • Note that there is no need to contact suppliers of medicines directly.
  • Encourage staff to promote messages of continuity and reassurance to people who use health and social care services, including that they should not store additional medicines at home.
  • Be aware that national contingency plans for medicines supply are kept under review, and the Department will communicate further guidance as and when necessary.
  • Continue to report shortage issues and escalate supply queries through existing communication channels.

Supply of medical devices and clinical consumables

  • BSO and HSC Trusts should continue to maintain current buffer stocks, as advised by the Department.
  • BSO Pals will continually monitor the situation and if the situation changes, escalate the issue to the national response group for further guidance. Send all queries about medical devices and clinical consumables provided by BSO PaLS to your usual contact.
  • Organisations that receive medical devices and clinical consumables from suppliers other than BSO PaLS, should contact them directly with any supply queries as you would normally do.
  • Be aware that contingency planning is kept under review, and the Department will communicate further guidance as and when necessary.

Supply of non-clinical consumables, goods and services

HSC Trusts and other bodies to:

  • Send queries about non clinical consumables and goods and services provided by BSO PaLS to your usual contact.

All organisations to:

  • Continue commercial preparation for EU exit as part of your usual resilience planning, addressing any risks and issues identified through your own risk assessments that need to be managed locally.
  • Continue to keep local business continuity plans updated to ensure continuity of supply in a ‘no deal’ scenario.
  • The Department will communicate further guidance as required.

Workforce

  • Note in their contingency planning that the end of transition may impact on workforce but at this point we consider that to be unlikely.
  • Publicise the EU Settlement Scheme to your health and care staff who are EU nationals. The scheme will remain open until 30 June 2021, so there will be plenty of time for EU staff to register. Further information can be viewed online.

Professional regulation (recognition of professional qualifications)

  • Inform your staff that health and social care professionals (including UK citizens), whose qualification has been recognised or applied for in the UK before the end of transition, will continue to be registered or complete the process.

Reciprocal healthcare

All organisations to:

  • Note that the current arrangements for reciprocal healthcare and for overseas visitors and migrant cost recovery will continue to operate until the end of transition.
  • Continue to support individuals who apply for NHS authorised treatment or maternity care in another member state (the S2 and cross-border healthcare processes).
  • Note that the Department will provide updates and further information on reciprocal healthcare arrangements prior to end of transition.

HSC Trusts to:

  • Maintain a strong focus on correctly charging those who should be charged directly for care. Information on implementing the current charging regulations can be viewed online.
  • Ensure there is capacity available for dealing with any changes to reciprocal healthcare arrangements.  This will include Payment Officers reading revised guidance, attending briefing meetings and working to revise trust processes and familiarise staff with any new arrangements. 
  • Note that the Department will provide updates and further information in due course. This information will cover cost recovery charging after the end of transition to enable trusts to amend processes and familiarise staff if reciprocal healthcare arrangements change.

GP practices to:

  • Continue to complete the standard form for patients registering with the practice and return to BSO as normal.  Read and apply any additional guidance issued by the BSO or Department on patient registration. 

Data Transfer

  • Undertake regular reviews of activity that may lead to potential transfers of personal data from the EU/EEA to the UK, especially those that are critical to patient care and/or would have a serious impact upon the system if they were disrupted.
  • Undertake regular reviews of data transfer mitigations to ensure partner organisations remain confident in ability to share health and care information.
  • Note that many organisations tend not to disaggregate personal and non-personal data. As such, please be aware that restrictions on personal data may have knock-on effects on data more generally.
  • Follow the advice from DCMS and the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) on data protection in a ‘no deal’ scenario, which can be viewed on gov.uk and on the ICO website, in particular to determine where to use and how to implement mitigation actions such as  standard contractual clauses.

Finance

  • Record costs (both revenue and capital) incurred in complying with this guidance. Costs with a direct financial impact should be recorded separately to opportunity costs. Trusts should discuss these costs with their regional HSCB teams.

Queries

  • Medicine shortage queries should be raised via business as usual routes.
  • Queries relating to centrally supplied medical devices, clinical and non-clinical consumables should be raised through routine BSO PaLS contacts.
  • All other queries should be directed to EU.Exit@health-ni.gov.uk

Further Information

 

  •  

Card 2 – Action Card for HSCB, PHA and BSO PaLS

Role

In addition to current responsibilities, HSCB, PHA and BSO PaLS should ensure that their contracted health and care services are ready to manage the risks arising in a ‘no deal’ exit at the EOTP.

HSCB, PHA and BSO PaLS should also liaise with providers of services that they commission, to ensure they are taking account of the actions for providers outlined in this guidance. EU Exit and the potential implications of ‘no deal’ on health and care services should be discussed at board level on a regular basis to ensure sufficient oversight. 

Actions for HSCB, PHA and BSO PaLS

In addition to actions required of all organisations, HSCB, PHA and BSO PaLS should consider the following local EU Exit readiness preparations.

Risk assessment and business continuity planning

  • Review and update internal assessment of risks associated with ‘no deal’ EU Exit, covering, but not be limited to:
      • The key areas identified nationally and detailed below.
      • Potential increases in demand associated with winter and Covid-19.
      • Locally specific risks resulting from EU exit.
  • Continue normal business continuity planning taking into account the instructions in this guidance and working with wider system partners to ensure plans across the health and care system are robust.
  • Where possible, test existing business continuity and incident management plans against EU Exit risk assessment scenarios to ensure these are fit for purpose.

 

 

Emergency Preparedness

  • Participate in HSC Silver/Gold Command and DoH strategic cells as and when required.

Continuity of healthcare services

HSCB should:

  • Promote key messages in primary care that services should not stockpile, clinicians should not write longer prescriptions and patients should be advised not to order additional medicines.
  • Ensure that community pharmacies, general practices and other relevant services have systems in place to manage shortages of medicines and other medical supplies.
  • Encourage staff to promote messages of continuity and reassurance to people who use health and social care services, including that they should not store additional medicines at home.
  • Be aware that national contingency plans are kept under review, and the Department will communicate further guidance as and when necessary.
  • Continue to manage shortage issues through existing channels.
  • Put in place arrangements, including a dedicated resource, to support the implementation of contingencies to assure continuity of treatments to patients using primary care services.
  • Share letters from the Department aimed at an HSC and wider health and care provider audience as needed. (NB RQIA will share communication with the independent sector).

PHA should

  • Ensure that contingencies are in place for the continuity of clinical trials in liaison with national plans.

BSO PaLS should

  • Ensure that systems are in place to handle interruptions or shortages of centrally supplied healthcare products within the HSC.

 

Workforce

  • Encourage healthcare providers that deliver your commissioned services to publicise the EU Settlement Scheme to their staff who are EU nationals, and support them to apply for the scheme. The scheme will remain open until at least the end of 2020, so there will be plenty of time for EU staff to register.
  • Monitor the workforce impacts of EU Exit in your primary care providers’ and highlight risks to the Department via normal channels.

Reciprocal healthcare

  • Note that the current arrangements for reciprocal healthcare and for overseas visitors and migrant cost recovery will continue to operate until EOTP.
  • Continue to process applications to register for care in a timely fashion, applying the latest guidance from the Department.  Relevant staff to meet as needed with the Department to discuss and familiarise themselves with revised guidance. 
  • Proactively identify any issues to the Department at an early stage. 
  • Note that the Department will provide updates and further information in due course.

Queries

  • Medicine shortage queries should be raised via business as usual routes.
  • Queries relating to centrally supplied medical devices, clinical and non-clinical consumables should be raised through routine BSO PaLS contacts.
  • All other queries should be directed to EU.Exit@health-ni.gov.uk

Further Information

 

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