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Media And Political Bulletin 24 July 2018

Media and Political Bulletin

24 July 2018

Media Summary

Matt Hancock announces £412m in STP funding for NHS trusts

Scan4Safety, Press Release, 20 July 2018

Last week, in a speech from West Suffolk Hospital in his constituency, Matt Hancock announced £487m in STP funding for NHS trust programmes focused on workforce, technology, and prevention. As part of this announcement, the Secretary of State highlighted Scan4Safety as an example of the type of programme for which the new STP funding can be used.

Scan4Safety stated that ‘we are delighted at this recognition for Scan4Safety and for the work of all six demonstrator sites over the past two-and-a-half years. This announcement and extra funding helps take the brakes off the expansion of the programme.’

Watch a video of the key points here.

Scan4Safetey is an initiative led by the Department of Health and Social Care that uses barcode technology to help NHS staff track patients through their hospital journey. From the unique barcodes on wristbands patients receive when they enter hospital, to the barcodes used to record their medication and the equipment used in their treatment, each code can be scanned to show which member of staff administered each treatment, at what time and where.

By using barcodes, anything that might develop a fault years later, for example a screw used in a knee operation or breast implant, can be traced. The details, such as when it was used and the surgeon who carried out the procedure, can be found quickly and easily.

The dire consequences of a no-deal Brexit

Financial Times, 23 July 2018

The Financial Times examines the prospect of a no-deal Brexit, stating that leaving the EU without formal agreements would result in instant and harsh consequences. It states that ‘Mr Raab might try to mitigate the worst effects of a no-deal exit by, for example, throwing open ports and borders. But the FT states that in this case, Britain would be dependent on the EU’s goodwill to ensure trading conditions, ‘goodwill that, like critical medicine, may be in short supply.’

The FT concludes that this is why it is critical for the UK and the EU to strike a sensible deal that serves both sides, arguing that ‘a little give and take now is preferable to a calamitous breakdown later.’

What a no deal Brexit means for health and social care

iNews, Paul Gallagher, 23 July 2018

iNews reports on what a no-deal Brexit will mean for health and social care. It states that leaving the EU will have major health implications, including for medical supplies.

The publication states that because the UK will be leaving the European single market and the customs union, new deals will have to be made with each relevant country that currently plays an important role in facilitating the delivery of health service, via access to workforce, as well as goods and services.

iNews states that if no trade deal is agreed, the UK will fall back on World Trade Organisation rules, which could see specific tariffs being imposed on some goods and services. In addition to any wider economic implications, this could increase the cost of many goods and services for the NHS and social care sector, and could also impact on supply, including of drugs and treatments.

Parliamentary Coverage

There was no parliamentary coverage today

Full Coverage

Matt Hancock announces £412m in STP funding for NHS trusts

Scan4Safety, Press Release, 20 July 2018

Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, announced £487m in STP funding for NHS trusts programmes focused on workforce, technology, and prevention.

As part of this announcement, the Secretary of State highlighted Scan4Safety as an example of the type of programme for which the new STP funding can be used.

We are delighted at this recognition for Scan4Safety and for the work of all six demonstrator sites over the past two-and-a-half years.

Watch a video of the key points here.

The dire consequences of a no-deal Brexit

Financial Times, 23 July 2018

“No deal is better than a bad deal” was Theresa May’s mantra through the initial stages of the Brexit negotiations. The British prime minister’s insistence that the UK could leave the EU without a formal agreement was always an empty threat. It was never taken seriously in Brussels, still less in Whitehall.

Crucially, the notion of a no-deal Brexit had little support in parliament beyond an extremist fringe which has scant understanding of legal obligations and international trade rules.

Mrs May, belatedly, is pressing ahead for a softer Brexit through her Chequers plan. This entails keeping the UK close to the EU on goods trade, while allowing for divergence on services.

The problem is that this approach has met with a cool response in Brussels and has been attacked on all sides at home. To the dismay of business and many MPs, the prospect of a no-deal exit, more by accident than design, has returned with a vengeance.

There should be no illusions about what this would mean in practice. If a no-deal Brexit occurred, it would take one of two forms. The first outcome would be where the two sides failed to come to any agreements and the talks ended in acrimony.

The UK would spill out of the EU on March 29 2019, guaranteeing chaos on all fronts. It would spell international isolation, as well as a shock to the economy and a political backlash. No competent government could contemplate such an option.

The other, more probable form is where the two sides agreed to disagree. The UK and the EU would conclude that there was no immediate prospect of a comprehensive withdrawal agreement.

A series of co-ordinated unilateral actions would be required to avoid a national crisis. Such deals would require a willingness to lend a helping hand — hardly a bankable prospect if the Article 50 negotiations collapsed.

Such a “tempered” no deal would carry significant risks. As well as raising a hard border on the island of Ireland — a political landmine — it would create enormous practical and legal uncertainties for businesses.

Trade with the EU would switch to World Trade Organization terms, raising customs checks and tariffs overnight. Capital could flee the City of London, followed by a run on the pound. Food supplies would be at risk because of the uncertainty over certification and standards. The UK’s ports and airports would be thrown into disarray. The list is endless, and no amount of wishful thinking can overcome this reality.

Nevertheless, the May government is putting on a stern face, insisting that the British spirit will triumph against all odds.

Dominic Raab, eager to make his mark as the new Brexit secretary, says the UK is ready to walk away from negotiations and take off the table its £39bn Brexit divorce payment. He is also ramping up preparations for a no-deal Brexit and will publish more details this week.

All this ignores what we have learnt from the negotiations to date. The EU holds the highest cards. On every issue of substance, the UK has folded.

Mr Raab might try to mitigate the worst effects of a no-deal exit, by throwing open ports and borders, for example. But Britain would be dependent on the EU’s goodwill to ensure trading continues. Goodwill that, like critical medicine, may be in short supply.

Despite Brexiter claims, this is not a rerun of “Project Fear”. Leaving the EU without formal agreements would result in instant, harsh consequences. The UK is not a rogue nation; it respects its financial and legal obligations.

This is why it is critical for the UK and EU to strike a sensible deal that serves both sides. A little give and take now is preferable to a calamitous breakdown later.

What a no deal Brexit means for health and social care

iNews, Paul Gallagher, 23 July 2018

Although the EU has limited legal jurisdiction over how health and care services are organised and provided in member states, leaving the EU will have major implications. These are some of the main ones. Medical supplies As the UK will be leaving the European single market and the customs union, new deals will have to be made with each relevant country that currently plays an important role in facilitating the delivery of health services, via access to workforce as well as goods and services. Simon Stevens, the Chief Executive of NHS England, has said the health service has been working on emergency planning to ensure medicines and equipment would still be available after a no-deal Brexit.

If no trade deal is agreed, the UK will fall back on World Trade Organisation rules, which could see specific tariffs being be imposed on some goods and services. In addition to any wider economic implications, this could increase the cost of many goods and services for the NHS and social care sector, and could also impact on supply, including of drugs and treatments.

Regulation

The UK is currently part of the centralised authorisation system operated by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) which will be moving from London to Amsterdam.

The EMA is responsible for the scientific evaluation of human and veterinary medicines developed by pharmaceutical companies for use in the EU. The UK has its own national regulatory agency, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). However, this deals with national authorisations intended for marketing only in the UK. The UK will probably leave the jurisdiction of the EMA when it leaves the EU, but then seek to “work closely” with the EMA.

Experts assume that the intention would then be for the MHRA to operate as a sovereign regulator outside the EMA, but with regulatory equivalence and working closely with the EMA and other international partners. There are already precedents for such arrangements – the EMA currently co-operates with regulatory bodies around the world and has specific agreements in place with countries including the United States, Canada and Switzerland.

Cancer treatment

The UK faces a similar issue in relation to future access to medical radioactive isotopes, which are used in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. In 2016/17 the NHS performed more than 592,000 diagnostic procedures that rely on radioactive material. The European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) creates a single market for nuclear energy in Europe and is responsible for co-ordinating and regulating access to these materials. Like the MHRA, the government has stated that when the UK leaves the EU it will also leave Euratom, although it hopes to continue working closely with it in future. Although the government has stated that the UK’s exit from Euratom will not have an impact on the availability of radioactive materials, many are concerned about the impact on future supply, including increased costs and a risk to patients should access be disrupted.

NHS staff

Currently, nearly 62,000 (5.6 per cent) of the NHS in England’s 1.2 million workforce and an estimated 95,000 (around 7 per cent) of the 1.3 million workers in England’s adult social care sector, are from the EU. The 2016 referendum has already had a significant impact on the numbers of EU staff arriving and leaving the health service. That trend is highly likely to continue.

If EU migration is limited after Brexit, a Department of Health and Social Care “worst case scenario” model predicts a shortage in the UK of between 26,000 to 42,000 nurses (full-time equivalents) by 2025/26. Projections from the Nuffield Trust suggest a shortfall in England of as many as 70,000 social care workers (headcount) by the same date.

Accessing treatment abroad The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) has ensured Britons receive state provided healthcare anywhere in the EEA during a temporary stay in that country. Former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt admitted before the health select committee over a year ago that his department would have to enter into 27 separate negotiations with the rest of the EU just to secure the same deal again. Around 27 million people in the UK have a EHIC card which would be redundant.

Public Health

Public health legislation for a number of policy areas, in particular food safety and nutrition, tobacco, alcohol, radiation, environment, housing standards and chemicals in air, water and land safety, is drawn from established EU legislation, standards and regulations, with relevant directives transposed into UK law. The UK will have the opportunity to consider whether transposed legislation should be maintained or amended. While the government has not yet clarified its intentions on this issue, some have expressed concern that, once EU oversight is removed, the UK could set less stringent standards in relation to some areas.

Media And Political Bulletin 24 July 2018

From Factory to Pharmacy

As part of our mission to build awareness, understanding and appreciation of the vital importance of the healthcare distribution sector, we developed an infographic explaining the availability of medicines. It identifies the factors that can impact drug supply, as well as the measures that HDA members undertake day in, day out to help mitigate the risks of patients not receiving their medicines.

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