As you will be aware, talks on Brexit, our formal separation from the European Union, continue. Discussions are up to the wire but with Brexit planned for 1 January 2021, the Trust has continued with contingency planning to be ready for whatever this brings.
Transport Contracts, Ferry Contracts and Ports
Robust measures have been put in place to safeguard NHS supply chains after 1 January 2021. The Government have established contracts with leading ferry companies including Brittany Ferries, P&O, Stena and DFDS that will focus on nine routes serving eight ports. These include Felixstowe, Harwich, Hull, Poole, Newhaven, Portsmouth, Teesport and Tilbury. It is envisaged that deliveries will follow normal patterns, but some flexibility might be required in terms of delivery times, including night-time or weekend deliveries. Key ELFT sites have been identified which operate 24 hours a day and can receive goods whatever the hour.
How is ELFT Preparing?
In many ways, the coronavirus pandemic has tested our processes and our supply chains. Nonetheless, we have undertaken a further desktop planning exercise to consider a range of scenarios to be as prepared as possible.
The discussion and contingencies from this will help us to refine our overall plan an local teams have their own Business Continuity Plans in the event of any disuptions.
We are also working with our respective STPs in East London, and Bedfordshire, Milton Keynes and Luton to be part of a broader system-wide approach.
Medication and Healthcare - Reassuring Service Users from the EU
Our message to service users from the EU is that we will continue to support and care for you and will assist with any administration needed to secure your status. In the event that there is a shortage of a medicine product you are prescribed, we undertake to inform you straightaway and provide an alternative drug. There is no need to stock up on medication and our clinicians will not be prescribing larger amounts than usual. Stockpiling is underway higher up the supply chain so that all organisations will have equal access to supplies.
The EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) card enables any EU resident to free healthcare in the UK. In the event of a No Deal Brexit, it will no longer be valid. Free NHS healthcare in an emergency remains in place. But anyone traveling to Europe over the festive season needs to take out travel insurance at the EHIC card may not be valid from 1 January 2021.
Reassuring EU Colleagues
This is an uncertain time for many EU staff who are unsure what the future holds. Our message to our staff is we want EU colleagues to continue working here in ELFT and we will support them in whatever ways we can to ensure that this happens. We value and appreciate all our staff. They have been recruited for their skills, values and ethics and we don't want them going anywhere! It's important that we look out for each other, that sensitivities are recognised and that we continue to treat one another with respect and care.
We have sought reassurance from all our suppliers that they will be able to fulfil our orders to our satisfaction. Suppliers of medical devices and clinical equipment have been asked to share their contingency plans with us to safeguard stock. Many have stockpiled items in their warehouses.
We are working closely with NHS England. Network meetings and briefings are taking place that we are part of.
(Updated 16 December 2020)
Staff Brexit Updates
ELFT Brexit Update No 6
ELFT Brexit Update No 5
ELFT Brexit Update No 4
ELFT Brexit Update No 3
ELFT Brexit Update No 2
ELFT Brexit Update No 1