Ahead of the UK's expected departure from the European Union in 2019, Swindon CCG has published a list of frequently asked questions to help reassure patients who may be worried about the impact Brexit could have on the medicines they are regularly prescribed. 

All of the questions and answers listed below have been provided by NHS England, and can be seen on the NHS England website by clicking here


Will I still be able to get my prescription medicines and medical products? 

Yes. The government is working closely with the NHS and suppliers to make sure medicines and medical products continue to be available in all scenarios. 

If, however, there is a temporary shortage of a specific medicine, patients will be prescribed the most appropriate alternative, which is standard practice within the NHS. 

Healthcare staff, such as GPs and pharmacists, will be supported on the best ways to prescribe alternatives. 


Should I keep ordering my repeat prescriptions and taking my medicines as normal?

Yes, patients should not change the way in which they order prescriptions or take their medication.


Should I ask my GP for a larger or longer prescription? 

No. Ordering extra prescriptions could put pressure on existing stocks which could, in turn, result in less medicine being available for other patients. 


Will I still get my medicine if I am on a clinical trial? 

The NHS and the government is working with organisations running clinical trials to ensure that research continues as normal in the coming months. 


Will any routine NHS operations be cancelled?

While no guarantees can be made, the NHS and the government have put plans in place to ensure there is minimal disruption to normal service. 


What is being done to make sure medicines and medical products continue to be available? 

Since 2018, the Department of Health and Social Care has been working with all pharmaceutical companies that supply prescription-only medicines and pharmacy medicines to the UK that come from the EU. 

These companies have been instructed to ensure that extra medicine stocks are available in the UK. 


What about over-the-counter medicines and medical products?

General medicines, which can be bought in a variety of formats from supermarkets and high street retailers, are not included in the government's stockpiling work due to the high number of alternatives available. 


What about the supply of blood?

It is rare for the UK to import blood from overseas.

However, should there be a need to do so, the Department of Health and Social Care has in close contact with NHS Blood and Transport, which is leading on the national contingency planning arrangements. 


What about vaccines?

Public Health England manages significant stockpiles of vaccines for the national immunisation programme, as part of its usual day-to-day business.


What about unlicensed medicines?

The Department of Health and Social Care has asked unlicensed suppliers to have six weeks' worth of additional stock ready for when the UK leaves the EU. 

As with other medicines, unlicensed medicines will be prioritised in the government's agreed alternative.