Leaving the EU: Health and Social Care — [Mr Peter Bone in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 10:44 am on 19th March 2019.

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Photo of Stephen Hammond Stephen Hammond Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care) 10:44 am, 19th March 2019

I reassure the hon. Lady that we have been working since last August to ensure that companies understand the routes available to maintain continuity of supply, including air freight routes. We will ensure the potential use of those alternative shipping or air freight routes because, as she rightly points out, these are short-life products. The worst-case scenario—no deal—has been looked at, and routes will be available to ensure that medical isotopes can continue to come into this country.

The hon. Lady referred in her speech to the operationalisation of those plans, which is relevant. Normally, if sea routes are used, it can be ensured that medical isotopes or short-life products are at hospitals by 9 am. She referred to the likelihood that, if air freight routes are used, those products would not arrive until midday, which the NHS advises us would mean that some clinics would be likely to be rescheduled to later in the day. People’s opportunities to undergo treatment will not be interrupted.