We're prepared for no-deal Brexit, says hospital boss

A health boss says she is confident her hospital is as prepared as it can be for the prospect of a no-deal Brexit.

Russells Hall chief Diane Wake
Russells Hall chief Diane Wake

Health chiefs have been forced into emergency planning with the terms of Britain's exit from the EU still up in the air.

There have been warnings a no-deal exit could result in medicine shortages, while a doctor based at Sandwell Hospital become embroiled in a spat with minister Jacob Rees-Mogg after saying people could die if an agreement is not reached.

Boris Johnson's openness towards no-deal and the current chaos in Parliament has made it a realistic possibility and Diane Wake, the chief executive of the Dudley Group NHS Trust, which runs Russells Hall Hospital, believes her team have done as much as they can to prepare.

Ms Wake said the trust had been told not to stockpile medicines amid fears of a medicine shortage in the event of no-deal.

She said: "There is absolute serious planning. We were asked quite a few months ago, probably 12 months ago to identify an executive lead for Brexit planning, and that executive lead is Karen Kelly our chief operating officer.

"She goes to all the national and regional meetings supported by our emergency planner Chris Leach and there's also sub-groups of that, so there's Ruckie Kahlon, our director of pharmacy, who's leading on the drugs side of things and we provide regular reports via the sub-committee up to the board in terms of where we are with that planning.

"And I think a lot of it depends on whether we get a deal or not but we just have to be prepared for the likely impact on the NHS.

Asked if she believed the hospital would be able cope in the event of Britain crashing out without a deal on October 31 or later. she said: "I would hope that we would be in terms of the planning that we're doing. We've been advised not to hold medicines and things like that and we've been very compliant with all of the diktat that's come down from the Department of Health but I think we've done as much planning as we possibly can do to be in the best possible position going forward.

"It's just remained an unknown entity as we've swung from a no-deal to going out with a deal and all we can do is to make sure we're as prepared as we can be."

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