Brexit update for social care providers

October 10, 2019

A letter from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has been published detailing steps adult social care providers can put in place to get ready for Brexit on 31st October.

The letter, written by Jonathan Marron, Director General of Community and Social Care, highlights some of the steps already taken by DHSC in preparation for Brexit and some practical information about how providers can do the same. These include:

  • Check with your local suppliers about their contingency plans in the case of disruption – e.g. food suppliers.
  • Update your business continuity plans accordingly to prepare for any disruption.
  • Do not stockpile any medicines or medical products.
  • If you have any maintenance of machinery or equipment (e.g. lift services) due in the next few months, consider bringing this forward before 31st October, if your contractual / leasing provisions allow, where you think there may be an EU touchpoint – e.g. lift parts that come from Germany.
  • Review your contracts with suppliers to identify any potential Brexit issues.
  • Encourage your employees and the people receiving your services to consider whether they should apply for the EU Settlement Scheme.
  • Contact your local authority to identify relevant Brexit leads (this may include your Director of Adult Social Services and/or Brexit Lead Officer).
  • Make contacts across your region or local area to share best practice and ways of working ahead of 31 October. Essential individuals/organisations could include your local Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), Local Government Association (LGA), local care regulator, local authority commissioners, NHS partners, trade body associations, or local care associations.
  • Stay abreast of any local or regional adult social care events which may be taking place in your area to offer guidance and support on how to prepare for the UK leaving the EU.

The letter also details the DHSC’s approach to continuity of supply for adult social care, which has followed the similar principals as their contingency approach for the NHS. However, given the structure of the adult social care market is fundamentally different to the NHS there are differences. For medicines, clinical consumables and medical devices, their stockpiles cover people within both the NHS and the adult social care system. For non-medical supplies, they have been working with major suppliers on their contingency plans regardless of whether they supply directly to NHS services or adult social care providers.

The DHSC have taken a multi-layered approach to support the continued supply of medicines and medical products if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. As part of their assurance process and, as recognised by the National Audit Office, the latest findings from the DHSC’s medicines data collection exercise show that:

  • 96% of medicines suppliers within scope of the programme have responded;
  • this represents 98% of the market;
  • 82% of products within scope have a 6-week stockpile in place.

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