HDA UK Media and Political Bulletin – 12 March 2021

Media Summary

There was no media coverage today.


Parliamentary Coverage

Changes to import controls due to be implemented on 1 April and 1 July 2021
Michael Gove, Chancellor for the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, 11 March

The UK’s departure from the EU’s Single Market and Customs Union on 31 December last year created considerable change for business and citizens, including the introduction of new processes and requirements. But with the first changes coming into force on 1 January 2021, the generalised disruption that many anticipated did not affect supply chains to the levels expected.However, the Government has recognised the scale and significance of the challenges businesses have been facing in adjusting to the new requirements, all while dealing with the impacts of COVID. With the disruption caused by COVID lasting longer and being more extensive than anticipated, the Government has reviewed its timetable for the phased introduction of controls on imports from the EU into Great Britain, giving businesses more time to prepare.

In a statement made yesterday, Michael Gove announced a clear revised timetable for the introduction of controls, as follows:

  • Pre-notification requirements for Products of Animal Origin (POAO), certain animal by-products (ABP), and High Risk Food Not Of Animal Origin (HRFNAO) will not be required until 1 October 2021. Export Health Certificate requirements for POAO and certain ABP will come into force on the same date.
  • Customs import declarations will still be required, but the option to use the deferred declaration scheme, including submitting supplementary declarations up to six months after the goods have been imported, has been extended to 1 January 2022.
  • Safety and Security Declarations for imports will not be required until 1 January 2022.
  • Physical SPS checks for POAO, certain ABP, and HRFNAO will not be required until 1 January 2022. At that point they will take place at Border Control Posts.
  • Physical SPS checks on high risk plants will take place at Border Control Posts, rather than at the place of destination as now, from 1 January 2022.
  • Pre-notification requirements and documentary checks, including phytosanitary certificates will be required for low risk plants and plant products, and will be introduced from 1 January 2022.
  • From March 2022, checks at Border Control Posts will take place on live animals and low risk plants and plant products.

Traders moving controlled goods into Great Britain will continue to be ineligible for the deferred customs declaration approach. They will therefore be required to complete a full customs declaration when the goods enter Great Britain.

You can read the full transcript of Michael Gove’s announcement here.

COVID-19: Community Pharmacies
House of Commons Debate, 11 March

Yesterday, Sir Graham Brady chaired a debate on the effect of the COVID-19 outbreak on community pharmacies. Jackie Doyle-Price MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Pharmacy, introduced the debate by highlighting the huge contribution made by community pharmacists during the pandemic, and the support and recognition expressed by Members of Parliament.

She drew particular attention to the financial impact of the pandemic on community pharmacists, and the consequences on their personal wellbeing, making a plea that the Government and the NHS fully appreciate their contribution and ensure that they be recompensed adequately for it. She also took this opportunity to highlight the larger role that pharmacists can and should play in primary care.

In line with the observations made by Jackie Doyle-Price MP, Peter Dowd MP outlined four actions which he recommended the Government take to address the situation:

  1. Review the response from pharmacies during the pandemic and re-evaluate a clear vision of what is needed from these undervalued and vital frontline healthcare workers;
  2. Enable pharmacists to do more, by providing additional resources for training and support to the sector;
  3. Reassess the value of pharmacies, to be conducted by finance teams in the Department of Health and Social Care and the NHS; and
  4. Write off the advance payments as an immediate way of providing relief. Additionally, re-evaluate the financial implications of asking pharmacies to pay back the £370 million advance.

Holly Lynch MP backed the proposals, adding that pharmacies had their budgets cut back in 2016, with a reduction from £2.8 billion in 2015-16 to £2.59 billion in 2017-18. She said that austere financial measures had left many pharmacies ill-prepared for the additional requirements posed by the pandemic, flagging a 20% rise in demand for medicines and a 35% increase in required prescriptions.

Taiwo Owatemi MP went on to highlight the important role that these pharmacists play at the heart of communities, referencing her own background as a qualified pharmacist. She also advocated for a review of the sector’s funding, shedding light on the key link it provides between individuals and the wider NHS, and the vital role it can play in plans to address growing health inequalities.

Bob Seely MP noted that independent pharmacies do not gain the discounts given to big multiples, which are often part of a single wholesale and retail chain, and asked the Minister for Health to ensure that independent pharmacies are paid the same and are allowed to make the same profit margins on prescriptions and other services.

You can read a full transcript of the debate here.

Full Coverage

There was no media coverage today.

HDA UK Media and Political Bulletin – 12 March 2021

From Factory to Pharmacy

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