To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to his oral evidence at the Health and Social Care Committee on 9 July 2019, if he will place in the Library his Department’s latest assessment of (a) the appropriate level of warehousing capacity required for stockpiling medicines and (b) the flow assumptions of importing medicines in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
To ensure sufficient space to store stockpiled medicines, we agreed contracts for additional warehouse space, including ambient, refrigerated and controlled drug storage aligned to the possible 29 March exit date. All these types of storage remain available and should be sufficient to meet the additional needs of medicines suppliers to enable them to build or rebuild their stockpiles prior to 31 October. The original procurement was carried out to give additional leeway should the level of storage required be greater than initially estimated. As part our contingency planning for a possible ‘no deal’ European Union exit on 31 October, we have re-assessed the additional warehouse capacity required to meet the six-week stockpile request made of industry and have confidence that the current capacity we have in place for 31 October will be sufficient.
The Government’s Border Delivery Group has been reviewing the readiness of border infrastructures and of traders to comply with customs and borders processes in the United Kingdom and the EU. While the predicted flow rate across the short straits has improved slightly since 29 March, significant disruption would be expected for six months following a ‘no deal’ exit, with the most severe period being the first three months.