THE Welsh Government’s Brexit Minister has admitted that essential work on compiling a list of medicines at risk of shortages in the event of a no deal Brexit is uncompleted, even though this possible eventuality is only 44 days away.
Mr Miles also failed to provide reassurance that strategies were in place to ensure emergency services were prepared for possible civil disturbance and other disruption.
Plaid Cymru Leader Adam Price asked Brexit Minister Jeremy Miles:
“Has the work that you referred to in identifying the medicines and medical equipment that are at risk of becoming scarce if there were a no deal Brexit been completed?
“How many medicines and what medical equipment have you identified on that list?
“Is it less than the 31 identified in the most recent analysis by the European Medicines Agency, and do you intend to publish that list so that GPs, and the public, are aware of the possible risks that they may face, so that, as far as possible, they can make alternative arrangements?”
In his reply, Jeremy Miles said:
“That work is not complete, and that work is taking place jointly between the Welsh Government and other Governments, including the Westminster Government. And the work is ongoing at present.
“What is important is to ensure and be clear with people that they don’t need to behave in any different way at the moment.
“We are not asking the NHS to respond any differently to GPs, as in giving people longer prescriptions, and we’re not asking the pharmacists to do that. But we are keeping an eye on the situation.”
Mr Price also asked Mr Miles whether there were, “any contingency plans by the police forces in Wales to put police officers on standby, to respond to any civil disputes, or disputes in our ports, should there be a ‘no deal’ Brexit”.
Mr Miles again failed to provide a detailed answer, simply stating that, “negotiations and discussions are taking place”.
Commenting, Adam Price AM said:
“It beggars belief that, with 44 days to go until the UK is due to leave the EU, and with a no deal disaster looking like a real possibility, essential work in medicine contingency planning is uncompleted.
“Compiling a list of medicines at risk of shortages is only the first step in ensuring patient safety and it is simply unacceptable the Tory Westminster Government and Labour Welsh Government have not yet completed the work.”
Mr Price added:
“It is also of deep concern that the Brexit Minister is unable to provide information about civil contingency planning.
“Civilians have a right to take their safety for granted, yet the Labour Welsh Government is unable to offer reassurance that strategies have been put in place so ensure any risk as a result of civic disruption is kept to an absolute minimum.
“It is of course Theresa May’s Tory government which is to blame for failing to take no deal off the table, but the Labour Welsh Government must raise its game in terms of contingency planning as a matter of urgency, for they will not be forgiven if their inaction results in avoidable harm to citizens in Wales.”
Photo: National Assembly for Wales