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The British Medical Association (BMA) has released a firm statement in response to news that the government has only just begun the tender process for an ‘express freight service’ to deliver medicine supplies in event of no-deal Brexit. The Trade union’s deputy chair stated that it was “boyond alarming” that a supplier has yet to be named despite it being just over two months until the United Kingdom is due to leave the Europeon Union.
On August 15th, the government quietly released a statement on it’s website stating that it had begun the tendering process for a £25 million contract to to deliver medicines in the event of a no-deal Brexit on October 31st.
The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) announcement describes the contract as;
“The service is intended to deliver small parcels of medicines or medical products on a 24-hour basis, with additional provision to move larger pallet quantities on a 2- to 4-day basis. The service will be available to the whole of the UK.”
It is initially set to run for 12-months, with the possibilty of being extended for a further year should it be required.
Short Tendering Process
This DHSC release was made on August 15th and it stated that the process was open for potential bidders until August 21st. This gave little time for prospective suppliers to build a detailed and competent bid for the government ro review.
You’d think after how quickly it went south with Seabourne Freight, and the amount it ended up costing the taxpayer, that the Government would have learnt it’s lesson.
The winning bidder is due to be announced some time next month, giving them just weeks to ensure that they have a process fit to deliver life saving medicines across the entirety of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland.
BMA Responds Bluntly
Upon hearing the news that the government still hadn’t put in place a competent plan to ensure there aren’t medicine shortages the British post Brexit, the British Medical Assoccation (BMA) released a strongly worded statement.
The BMA is the UK’s biggest trade union and professional body for doctors and is highly respected around the world.
In a press release their deputy Chair Dr David Wrigley said:
“It is beyond alarming that the future delivery of medicine and medical supplies in the UK could be dependent on a freight service – for which the supplier hasn’t yet even been appointed.
“This latest announcement from the Government is a further indication of the chaos that will lay in store for the NHS and patients in the event of a no-deal Brexit and highlights just how costly this will be.
“A no-deal Brexit could lead to untold disruption for health services and severely impact patients’ health if they either don’t get the medicines they are totally dependent on or those medicines arrive damaged, unfit for purpose or just too late. The inability to supply critical medication will place patients’ lives at risk.”
Lives Put at Risk by Brexit Blindness?
The main question on everyone’s mind is; are patients livers going to be at risk?
While it is likely freight companies will have been putting together plans for some months, by the time contracts have been awarded there will be no time to stress test, or even test them at all.
Pharmacutical comapnies have been stockpiling medicines already after being previously advised to do so by the government. However, there are short shelf life products that they can’t do that with.
It could only take one delivery being delayed to cost someone their life.
The UK Government’s attitude of leaving it to the last minute is typical. They’re playing fast and loose with peoples lives in the belief they can get everything they want.
Attempting to set up a foolproof system such as this so late is beyond negligent. You son’t have to be for or against Brexit to accept that.
We can only hope that either a deal is reached between the UK and thew EU or, that the freight company who wins the contract have really thought this through properly.
Either way, it’s not long until we will find out.
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