NHS: Drugs

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 12th October 2021.

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Photo of Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact on the delivery of drugs (1) to the NHS, and (2) to patients, of the shortage of HGV drivers in the UK.

Photo of Lord Kamall Lord Kamall The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

We are not currently seeing the shortage of Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) drivers in the United Kingdom impact the delivery of medicines nor are we seeing it impact the delivery of flu vaccinations. The majority of deliveries are still being made to schedule with on-time delivery performance currently at 98%. However, the issue has been raised by a growing number of suppliers, including National Health Service trusts.

The number of National Supply Disruption Responses relating to medicine shortages in August 2021 is similar to the level in March 2021. This has remained stable and is unrelated to HGV driver shortages. Whilst no formal assessment has been made, we are reviewing broad trends are obtained through the Department’s freight desk, through organisations such as NHS Supply Chain, industry and NHS trusts. The Government’s Express Freight Service remains available to support suppliers if their existing supply chains are disrupted.

The Government is aware of concerns and are taking steps to support businesses and stakeholders, including streamlining the process for new HGV drivers, increasing the number of driving tests, improved pay, working conditions and diversity.

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