Plans in place to secure Bedford cancer patients’ drugs if no-deal Brexit

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Brexit in Bedford

A leading Bedfordshire-based medic says plans are in place to make sure that drugs can get through customs if there is a no deal Brexit.

With trade deal talks between the UK Government and the EU not yet concluded and only days to go before the Brexit transition period comes to an end, a Bedford councillor raised his concerns at a meeting.

Cllr Abu Sultan (Lab, Cauldwell) took the opportunity to quiz Dr James Ramsay at a meeting of Bedford Borough Council’s health overview and scrutiny committee.

“Obviously there’s a lot of uncertainty around Brexit,” said Cllr Sultan at Monday’s meeting. “I have a few concerns around it as well.

“Do you feel confident in terms of cancer care services but more importantly with the availability of cancer drugs?”

Dr Ramsay, the deputy medical medical director at the Bedfordshire Hospitals Trust, is also a member of NHS England’s urgent and emergency directorate which has had the issue on its mind.

He said: “This is a focus of the NHS and provisions have been made to ensure that we’ve got adequate drug supplies.”

He told the committee members, who were discussing the recovery of cancer services from the impact of covid, that the NHS will have “priority for cross channel transportation or drugs and they will be taken as a priority whether that be by air or by sea.”

Some commentators, including NHS Providers, which speaks on behalf of hospitals, says a ‘no deal’ Brexit could disrupt the main supply routes for drugs through Europe to the UK.

But Dr Ramsay added: “Drugs with shorter life spans will also be prioritised those drugs to be transported by air travel.

“It has been recognised, planning has been put in place and hopefully the treatments that we need for the patients that we diagnose with cancer will be available in a timely way to meet their needs.”

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