NHS England on Wednesday published a new guideline to support primary contractors in case of a no-deal Brexit.

In a letter, the government agency’s EU Exit Strategic Commander Prof. Keith Willett and Dr David Geddes addressed all primary care contractors. The document is intended to be a companion to the Department of Health and Social Care’s (DHSC) Operational Readiness Guidance.

The letter addresses continuity of supply as the main issue and reassures that DHSC is working closely with manufacturers and wholesalers to manage supply disruptions.

It also provides clarification about the use of Serious Shortage Protocols (SSPs).

“SSPs will only be used in limited situations when an expert-led clinical decision is approved by the Minister. They are medicine specific, so the protocol would only be in place for specific medicine to which the protocol relates. Once in place, an SSP would mean that community pharmacists are able to dispense medicine in line with the SSP in very limited circumstances, with the patient’s consent and for a defined limited period of time.”

Healthcare professionals are advised to review the use of any systems which hold data abroad. Brexit would not affect the transfer of personal data outside of the UK.

Contractors are also reminded to pay attention to the EU Settlement Scheme.