NHS chiefs have set up 24-hour supply lines to ensure a steady stream of medicine is available in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
Special express freight services have been booked to ensure hospitals and pharmacies never run short of vital drugs.
Ministers have secretly DEMANDED that suppliers have at least six weeks’ worth of everything from Calpol to insulin in store.
But they fear their efforts risk being undermined by politically-motivated doctors spreading scare stories – and prompting patients to stockpile medicine.
The massive safeguards put in place to avoid a crisis are revealed in a leaked internal document for senior NHS managers obtained by The Sun on Sunday.
It shows how the system is well prepared for even a worst-case scenario and that patients are the least likely to be affected by any post-Brexit disruption.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has procured an express freight service to deliver products into the country in well under 24 hours.
In the event of lorry tailbacks at Dover, trucks carrying medical supplies will be given fast-track entry – as the number one priority, ahead of food.
Cancer drugs will be flown directly into East Midlands airport under a government rapid procurement scheme if necessary. But senior officials say the six-week “buffer” of stocks should be enough to avoid any shortage.
Dominic Fear, of NHS Improvement, told a meeting of top medics: “It is a matter of life in the NHS that we deal with medicine shortages and we’ve got quite good means of avoiding some of those. These have been bolstered as part of our preparations. In addition we have put in place extra measures.”
Suppliers have been given special documentation to help them get across the border and avoid any delay. The other fallback is ordering suppliers to build a six-week stock of all medicines.
Mr Fear said: “The department ad damned well insisted that suppliers have six weeks of stock and most of them have quite a bit more. For insulin, for example, there is four months supply in the country at the moment.”
He moved to calm fears of a sudden shortage, adding: “Production of medicine will stay the same, demand is going to stay the same. The challenge for EU exit is in the logistics – getting it from where it is produced to the patient.
“If there are some travel delays then the buffer stocks will cover that and they will be topped up, so it’s not going to be the case of having six weeks from October 31 then at some point in mid-December we will run out.”
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Extra freight capacity has been secured and NHS staff have been told the main message is “Keep Calm and Carry On” but not to stockpile.
In his briefing, Mr Fear stressed: “Just because we are planning for it, doesn’t mean we think it’s going to happen. We are just saying this is the possibility so we are going to plan for it.
“We are trying to be as well prepared as we possibly can. Clinicians have been told they should not dispense bigger prescriptions or tell patients to stockpile as this is the most dangerous aspect of Brexit and is driven by a Remain bias.”
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