Guidance: Preparing for a no-deal Brexit

August 13, 2019

The Department of Health and Social Care has released guidance exploring what adult social care providers and local authorities need to do when preparing for a no-deal Brexit.

This guidance sets out the actions providers should take before and after Brexit, to plan for and manage any potential service disruption to adult social care if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

Supply of medicines, medical devices and clinical consumables

Government is working directly with suppliers and pharmaceutical companies to make sure there is a continued supply of medicines, medical devices and clinical consumables when the UK leaves the EU. Providers are asked not to stockpile any medicines, medical devices or clinical consumables, as this could cause shortages in other areas and put other people being supported at risk.

You should also tell people using services not to store additional medicines, medical devices or clinical consumables at home.

To help address any local supply issues, providers should take the following actions before the UK leaves the EU:

  • If your organisation currently relies on receiving products from the EU with short lead times of 24 to 48 hours, plan for longer lead times of up to five days.
  • Make sure you are prepared to receive stock deliveries outside normal hours.
  • Read more about what businesses supplying medicines and medical devices should do to prepare for a no-deal Brexit.

Supply of non-clinical consumables, goods and services

Government is asking providers to make sure they have included any risks and issues associated with the supply of non-clinical consumables, goods and services in their business continuity plan and/or contingency plan.

Business continuity plans

Review your business continuity or contingency plans regularly. Make sure they are up to date and consistent with other local contingency plans, in particular those being developed by your local resilience forum.

Make sure you also have plans in place for the months following Brexit, to ensure continuity of care for service users.

The Care Provider Alliance has issued a contingency plan template for use by adult social care providers.


Providers should review their capacity and activity plans regularly in preparing for a no-deal Brexit. Business continuity plans should cover the supply of staff needed to deliver services before and after Brexit.

Make sure you tell any staff who are EU citizens about the EU Settlement Scheme, and help them apply if they need support.

There will be no need for any changes to existing EU staff employment contracts after Brexit, even if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

You must notify your local commissioner, director of adult social services and the Care Quality Commission as soon as possible if there is any risk to service delivery.

The EU Settlement Scheme

The EU Settlement Scheme is free and it’s simple to register. The deadline for applications is 31st December 2020 if there is a no-deal Brexit, or 30th June 2021 if the UK leaves the EU with a deal.

Irish citizens are not required to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme, although there are some circumstances where they may wish to. Non-Irish family members of Irish citizens will need to apply.

Recognition of professional qualifications

Some staff have expressed concern about whether their professional qualifications will still be recognised if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

Government has put in place legislation to ensure that professional qualifications from institutions in the EU, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland will still be recognised by all professional regulators in the health and social care sectors when the UK leaves the EU. This means health and care staff from the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland who are currently practising in the UK can continue to do so.

Data sharing, processing and access

Currently, personal data can be transferred freely between the UK and the EU and other ‘adequate countries’ (countries that the EU defines as having an adequate level of data protection).

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the transfer of personal data from the EU and other adequate countries to the UK may be restricted.

Check whether your organisation relies on transfers of personal data from the EU or other adequate countries to the UK. Focus on data that is critical to service delivery, and data that would have a serious impact if it was disrupted.

If your data may be affected, you will need to put in place alternative arrangements to ensure continued protection and exchange of personal data. Check the advice from Information Commissioners Office, NHS England and the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government on data protection if we leave the EU without a deal.

More information is available on the Government website, which also lists who to contact if you require assistance with preparing for a no-deal Brexit.

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