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NHS boss warns of 'profound' Brexit recruitment impact

What impact could Brexit have on health services? Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire/PA Images

The head of NHS Dumfries and Galloway has warned Brexit could have a "profound impact" on recruitment, in an area which already struggles to attract qualified medical staff.

In an interview with ITV Representing Border, Chief Executive Jeff Ace said the health board is used to dealing with problems, and is doing all it can to prepare.

However, he said leaving the EU without a deal could create new issues.

Our health and care system is extraordinarily complex, and to provide the level of care that we do we rely on a huge number of interactions and relationships with suppliers right across the EU and beyond. Disrupting those causes difficulty. And whilst we can plan as to how we can mitigate that potential difficulty, I think it is right that people should be concerned that some of that disruption could impact on our services.

We have good business continuity plans, but a no deal Brexit would be challenging in most circumstances and most scenarios."

– Jeff Ace, Chief Executive NHS D&G

Mr Ace also spoke of his frustration at the time the health board is having to spend preparing for a no deal Brexit, rather than focusing on day-to-day health and social care.

In the long-term, he said Brexit could have a negative impact on the NHS's ability to recruit EU staff locally.

I think the impact of Brexit long term on our ability to recruit is quite profound. It's hugely frustrating if anything makes recruitment from outside the region more difficult, and Brexit is certainly as I say in the longer term one of those great frustrations about our ability to recruit the teams that we need."

– Jeff Ace, Chief Executive NHS D&G

The Department for Health and Social Care has said "we should be fully prepared for leaving on October 31, whatever the circumstances", and that its plans "should ensure the supply of medicines and medical products remains uninterrupted."

Keith McElrea, Director of the Welcome Pharmacy in Newton Stewart, says he and his team are feeling prepared for Brexit.

He urged people not to panic or stockpile medicine, and to trust their local pharmacy.

The preparations have taken place, I speak to wholesalers regularly, I know my wholesalers are sitting with 8 weeks additional stock on hand. The message community pharmacy is giving quite strongly is there's no need to panic, no need to stockpile, just collect your medicines as normal, your prescriptions as normal, and that should help the supply chains deal with any disruption it may face."

– Keith McElrea, Director of the Welcome Pharmacy