The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has written to health and social care providers to update them on Government's preparations for a no-deal Brexit.
Following a letter on 23 August which set out the Department of Health and Social Care's (DHSC's) plans for a potential no-deal Brexit, Matt Hancock has once again written to the health and social care sector to outline what ongoing preparations should be made.
The letter reminds UK health and social care providers – including hospitals, care homes, GPs and community pharmacies – that they should not be stockpiling additional medicines in the lead up to March 2019.
As well as discussing the issues of medicines, vaccinations and research projects, the letter on preparations for a no-deal Brexit lays out the current status of the EU Settlement Scheme. Mr Hancock says, 'EU nationals play a crucial role in our health and care system, and I want them to know that they have a secure future here after the UK leaves the EU.
'...Through the EU Settlement Scheme, which will launch in early 2019, EU nationals will be able to register for settled status if they have been here for five years, or presettled status if they have been here for less than five years. The process to register is simple and largely digital, and will cost £65 per adult and £32.50 per child. I am aware that some employers are planning to meet this cost, and this is something that you may wish to consider.'
The Home Office has opened up the system to health and care staff for three weeks, until Friday 21st December 2018. There is also an online toolkit to help organisations promote the scheme to EU nationals in their workforce.
Mr Hancock continues, 'There is no obligation for EU nationals to register early; however, it is an opportunity for many to get this certainty earlier, and I would strongly encourage you to publicise this to your health and care staff who are EU nationals.'
The list of those that are eligible to take part in the pilot includes any EU national who is employed by an organisation that delivers health and care services and is registered with the Care Quality Commission, whether that is an NHS organisation or an independent health and care employer.