Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 22nd December 2020.

Alert me about debates like this

The First Minister:

We discussed the issue of medicines supply at length both in COBRA yesterday and at the Scottish Government resilience committee, and I think that the health secretary is indicating to me that she will have further four-nations discussions on the issue later this week.

As I said in my statement, we have no immediate concerns about medicines or medical supplies, and we have no immediate concerns about supplies of the Covid vaccines.

Obviously, we require to keep all of that under very close review. The discussions that we had yesterday were, to some extent, inevitable. The new strain of the virus has led other countries to respond, and the issues around the border are part of dealing with that particular crisis. I think that we all understand the necessity of that. What is, I think, less easy for us to understand—and certainly for us to accept—is that we are having to discuss these things in the context of something that is completely self-inflicted.

Therefore, I hope that we see measures—whatever they require to be—being taken to avoid any disruption caused by Brexit over the next two-week period. Frankly, the country has got enough on its plate to deal with right now. We are dealing with Covid and with a new strain, and we are trying to get a vaccination programme rolled out. We are going into winter, and over the next few weeks we may be dealing with severe weather as well. We do not need the disruption that Brexit will bring, and I really hope that the UK Government will do whatever it takes to avoid that.