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Practices asked to provide Brexit plan in case of no-deal

by Elisabeth Mahase
6 March 2019

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Practices must provide a plan for how they will cope in the case of a no-deal Brexit, according to some CCGs.
GPs in Nottinghamshire are expected to carry-out ‘EU exit readiness planning, local risk assessments and prepare plans for wider potential impacts’, and nominate a lead in the practice.
Notices appeared in NHS Nottingham City CCG; NHS Nottingham North and East CCG; NHS Nottingham West CCG; and NHS Rushcliffe CCG board papers, which said practices should do this in line with Government planning guidance.
The Nottinghamshire CCGs’ board papers said: ‘The CCGs are preparing for a “no deal” scenario and risks and contingencies are being reported through the Local Resilience Forum (LRF) and NHS England. To support this, the DHSC has released a document outlining actions for providers and commissioners.
‘All NHS organisations and those providing services to the NHS, including GP practices, are required to undertake local EU exit readiness planning, local risk assessments and prepare plans for wider potential impacts.’
Former chair of NHS Bassetlaw CCG in Nottinghamshire Dr Steve Kell told our sister publication Pulse, where this article was first published, that he received a letter.
He said: ‘We got a letter saying that every practice has to have a lead for exiting the EU and a plan. It was particularly around medicine shortages, I think it’s more applicable for dispensing practices.’
A spokesperson for the Greater Nottingham Clinical Commissioning Partnership, which represents Nottingham City, Nottingham North and East, Nottingham West, and Rushcliffe CCGs, confirmed practices had been asked to review their business plans, but were not required to submit them.
The spokesperson said: ‘The CCGs have reviewed business continuity arrangements and completed plans in response to Brexit guidance.
‘As a responsible commissioner, we have also asked practices to review their own business continuity plans against the Government’s Brexit guidance and technical notices. We have not asked GP practices to submit their own individual plans or identify a senior responsible officer.’
The DHSC EU exit operational readiness guidance states NHS providers – under which practices are categorised – must:

  • Confirm escalation routes for different types of issues potentially arising from or affected by EU Exit into the regional NHS EU Exit teams
  • Note a nominated regional NHS lead for EU Exit and their contact details
  • Escalate any issues identified as having a potentially widespread impact immediately to the regional EU Exit team
  • Confirm the organisation’s senior responsible officer for EU Exit preparation and identify them to the regional EU Exit team as soon as possible

According to the document, the officer role will involve ‘reporting emerging EU Exit-related problems, and ensuring your organisation has updated its business continuity plan to factor in all potential “no-deal” exit impacts’.
Both the BMA and RCGP have publically supported a second EU exit referendum – the latter of which broke its normal protocol of not making political statements to do so – warning that Brexit could ‘seriously undermine’ the NHS and patient safety.
Anonymous twitter user @Practice_Mngr said: ‘Practices are under absolutely no contractural obligation whatsoever to produce Brexit specific documents despite some CCGs implying this!’
The DHSC did not wish to comment.
A version of this story was originally published on our sister publication Pulse.